Warren County jail road delay could hamper start of school in Lebanon

Orange cones and reroute signs will likely greet back-to-school traffic around Donovan Elementary School in Lebanon.

Work on the $1 million road relocation under construction as part of Warren County’s $57 million jail project could continue into the beginning of the school year, according to officials.

At Donovan, school starts on Aug. 12 for teachers and Aug. 15 for students. The road was to reopen Aug. 12.

Todd Yohey, superintendent of Lebanon City Schools, said the delay “should not” create problems for parents, bus drivers or anyone else trying to get to the school.

“Access to all school drives will be available,” Yohey said in an email response to questions.

RELATED: Jail road project to be completed before school starts

Warren County commissioners were briefed on the construction delays at their regular meeting on Tuesday.

“There were just some timing issues,” Deputy Administrator Martin Russell told the commissioners.

Administrator Tiffany Zindel added that the delays were caused by engineering issues as well as rainy weather.

This resulted in an estimated 10-day delay, putting the projected completion date on or before Aug. 23, Russell said Wednesday.

Commissioner Dave Young suggested the county consider penalizing the contractors.

MORE: Warren County seeking millions for Lebanon-area road projects

“That’s all the stuff that should have been done ahead of time,” Young said at Tuesday’s meeting. “One of the primary goals was to have this done before school opens.”

Justice Drive, the main road through the Warren County government complex and past the school, was closed to traffic the week of May 27.

“We sat on this start date,” Young added.

The road is being moved slightly south to make room for the new jail and sheriff’s office.

Commissioner Shannon Jones was less critical.

“I think we should just find out what the timeline is,” she said.

Since the road closing, the section of Justice Drive in the government complex off Cook Road and the Ohio 48 bypass has been blocked near the Memorial Drive intersection.

The school and county buildings have been accessible off an entrance on East Avenue.

Crews have dug the new road bed and were working this week.

The new road will run close to a line of pine trees buffering the school property.

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