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Hebron snares stimulus money for road projects

HEBRON – Two of the three Licking County transportation projects receiving federal stimulus money are in Hebron and Union Township.

Hebron Village Administrator Mike McFarland said Hebron will receive $450,000 to resurface North High Street and $100,000 will be spent to resurface the railroad crossing on Ohio 79 north of O’Neill Drive just outside of Hebron in Union Township. The third Licking County project is a realignment of Waterworks Road in Newark.

McFarland said seeking stimulus money required strategy. “The trick was to understand the criteria,” he said, adding the state established a website to apply for stimulus money as soon as it became available, which, not surprisingly, had lots of attention. McFarland said Hebron entered 27 projects on a broad range, each meant to match the stimulus requirements. He said Sandra Mapel, technical study director for the Licking County Area Transportation Study, assisted.

McFarland said the North High Street project had all the necessary ingredients to receive stimulus money considering ODOT was allocating the money. High Street used to be Ohio 79 before the multi-lane bypass was built and Hebron basically inherited its maintenance. McFarland said the village is hard-pressed to afford it. Now, the village can use the $450,000 it would’ve been forced to invest into High Street into other important transportation projects within the village. ODOT and LCATS will administrate the project. Stimulus money will pay for the entire project.

According to information from ODOT District 5, the North High Street project begins at US 40 (Main Street) and terminates at the north end in a cul-de-sac created when the new Ohio 79 was constructed. The project will include milling and repaving approximately 7920 linear feet of the two-lane asphalt roadway. Work is slated to begin this summer or fall and be complete summer 2010.

According to ODOT, the Bayer Company and Newark Industrial Park requested federal stimulus funds for the replacement of the Ohio 79 railroadcrossing surface on the industrial spur, or short section of railroad track stemming from the main track, which the industrial park owns. This project will rehabilitate the crossing surface and rail approaches. The Ohio Rail Development Commission sponsors the project.

Work will begin within 45 days of when the $100,000 becomes available and is expected to last six months. Should the project cost more than $100,000, the Ohio Railroad Development Commission will cover any additional costs with federal safety funds.

McFarland said he helped gather together all the people necessary to make the project happen. He said it’s no surprise the crossing needs resurfacing although the bypass has been open less than 10 years. The constant pounding from the semi-trucks crossing it quickly wears its surface.

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