Hurricane response stalls central Springboro crossroads construction

On Monday Duke Energy contractors are expected to be back at work related to a $10 million intersection project in Springboro after two weeks assisting recovery from Hurricane Irma in Florida.

“Crews expect to complete the second half of utility work on the project in about two weeks,” Sally Thelen, Duke Energy spokesperson, said Friday.

“We appreciate the patience of the Springboro community in understanding the magnitude of Hurricane Irma, and look forward to getting out there Monday to resume work on the project,” Thelen added.

“Please keep in mind, Hurricane Irma was the most significant storm to ever hit Duke Energy’s service territory in Florida. It affected every one of the 35 counties Duke Energy serves in Florida – some more severely than others. In many instances, crews had to rebuild the electrical system as a result of significant damage.”

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On Thursday, Springboro City Manager Christine Thompson said she expected road construction at the city’s central crossroads to be delayed for “several weeks” for lack of utility crews to do work at and around the intersection of Ohio 741 and Ohio 73, Main Street and Central Avenue in Springboro.

Milcon Concrete, the project contractor, notified the city it was pulling crews at the site until utility work can be completed, Thompson said Thursday during a city council work session.

“The utility companies are sending every team they have to Florida and Houston,” Thompson said, in her last council briefing before her retirement at the end of the month. “We are probably going to be held up for several weeks.”

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The Warren County Engineer’s Office, which is managing the project, confirmed Duke contractors, involved in the Hurricane Harvey recovery, had been pulled off the Springboro intersection project.

“The project completion date is not expected to be affected due to the project having been running three weeks ahead of schedule,” Savannah R. Shafer, director of communications for the engineer’s office, said Friday.

Milcon crews were still working Friday, but company officials could not be reached.

Workers indicated pole contractors were also needed before their work could continue.

It was unclear Milcon when planned to stop or restart work.

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On Friday, the city e-newsletter indicated the delay could be two or three weeks and advised residents of a traffic pattern change coming.

“Next Wednesday night the traffic pattern will be switched such that the traveling public will be utilizing the south side of the road and not the north side of the road. Please adjust your schedule accordingly Thursday morning while the everyone adjusts to the new traffic patterns,” the newsletter said.

“So over the next few weeks, residents may see little to no work being done at the intersection, as we wait for Duke to re-engage in the project.”

RELATED: Crossroads construction to begin

The road project and redevelopment of the northwest corner is to cost the city more than $15 million. The intersection, expected to cost about $10 million, was to be completed by late summer or early fall 2018.

Construction began in June.

At the council meeting, Councilman Jim Chmiel asked if Milcon planned to open up the eastbound curb lane of Ohio 73, closed off for the construction, before leaving the site.

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Thompson said this was unlikely, but she would contact the contractor.

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Also Thursday, Thompson said Speedway had agreed to settle litigation over the southwest corner, where it owned and operated a gas station-convenience store taken for the project.

RELATED: Speedway final property need for crossroads reconstruction

The former sites of two other corner gas stations have been cleared.

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