Phase 1 of a three-phase drainage and road project of 14th Avenue North will begin Monday, according to Columbus officials.
The city and the Corps of Engineers are partnering to fund a nearly $1.5 million project to build a new drainage ditch through 14th Avenue North and also expand the road to include a turning lane from 22nd Street North to the railroad crossing just west of Moss Street.
For the ditch project, Mayor Robert Smith said the Corps of Engineers is funding $1.05 million and the city is providing $350,000. Smith estimated the city would use up to $100,000 in street improvement bond money to expand the street and install a new traffic signal at 14th Avenue and Martin Luther King.
Rick Mason, community outreach coordinator and site manager for J5 Broaddus — the company that manages city projects — said the new, bigger ditch will improve waterflow in the area and the wider street would improve traffic flow and make the area safer.
“We had a problem with over-flooding when it rained very hard, and the fact that people would drive into the ditch,” Mason said.
He said the turning lane would specifically help bus drivers more easily turn left from 14th Avenue.
Mason said workers would close the old ditch and remove the fence around it. They would also build a new fence around the new ditch.
Ward 4 Councilman Marty Turner said improving drainage in that area of his ward was one of his priorities when he was first elected, and he is glad to see it getting done.
“14th Avenue North is one of the major thoroughfares,” Turner said. “That’s a dangerous street, and it seems like every three months somebody runs their car into that ditch. If the rain is real bad and that happens, somebody could get killed.”
J5 has announced road closures and dates for the different phases of the project. For Phase 1, estimated to take two weeks beginning Monday, 14th Avenue will be closed continuously from 22nd Street North to Martin Luther King. Traffic traveling down 14th Avenue North should detour via 21st Street North and Martin Luther King to 15th Avenue North.
For Phase 2, slated to begin in early May, 14th Avenue from 23rd to 27th Street North will be closed from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily for 1-2 weeks. Phase 3, set to begin in early to mid-May, will close 27th Street North to the railroad crossing west of Moss Street from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily for up to two weeks. J5 will issue detour routes for Phase 2 and 3 at a later date.
All closures are subject to change due to weather, emergency work or other events.
Zack Plair is the managing editor for The Dispatch.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.