HUNTING VALLEY — Village Engineer Joe Ciuni said that County Line Road is on schedule to be completed by Sept. 11 after a series of delays in 2019. The total project cost is $3.9 million with Hunting Valley paying $2.6 million and the Geauga County Engineer’s Office covering $1.3 million.
From the Gates Mills municipal boundary south to Whisperwood Drive, the project is shared between Hunting Valley and Russell Township. From Whisperwood to South Woodland Road (Route 87), the road is only in Hunting Valley.
Hunting Valley Councilman Bill Mulligan, who chairs the Infrastructure Committee, said that the committee should shift its role and meet more often. Rather than only reviewing what road and infrastructure repairs need to be made and recommending them to council in an annual meeting, now the committee will take costs into consideration and meet three to four times a year.
Project manager Nick Fini of GPD Group explained that the portion that is only in Hunting Valley was designed as a “mill and fill.” Workers did not tear out the road but fixed the base pavement. The contractor, Trax Construction, also put in curbs and drainage structures and widened the road, the engineers said. The rest of the project that is shared between Hunting Valley and Russell Township is known as a “full depth reconstruction.
“Not only is this road being rebuilt from the bottom up, it’s also being relocated,” Mr. Fini said at the committee meeting on June 16.
The Geauga County Engineer’s Office requested that the center of the road match the center of the right of way. Due to this request, Mr. Fini said that about 50 percent of the road must be recentered. Mr. Mulligan asked if Hunting Valley’s engineering team would have done this if it was not partnering with Geauga County. Mr. Fini said no.
Mr. Fini added that they are changing the “vertical profile” of the road because there are a lot of bumps. The engineers designed the road profile to be for a 35 mph speed of travel. Each lane will be 11 feet wide and there will be a 1-foot paved shoulder, he added.
For the part of County Line that is shared with Russell, Mr. Ciuni said that the “pulverization” of the road started on June 15. The workers are starting up north at the border with Gates Mills and moving south.
“We’re pulverizing the road and what’s under there 12-inches deep and then laying it back down,” Mr. Ciuni said. “That’s going to create our base.”
He said that it would take about five days to get from the Gates Mills boundary down to Whisperwood Drive.
Last fall, the project began with moving utilities. Mr. Ciuni said that about 20 poles needed to be moved, but FirstEnergy decided to move all the poles, which amounted to about 160 poles. When FirstEnergy moved poles, there were usually wires for AT&T and cable services also on them, which caused a major delay in the work schedule.
Village Finance Director Brian Coughlin asked if the village had to move the poles. Mr. Ciuni said that 20 needed to be moved, but the decision was not up to Hunting Valley officials. Even though the village did not have to pay to move the additional poles, Mr. Coughlin said that the impact of the delay was significant.
“My experience with utilities is they’re almost like God,” according to village resident and committee member George Goudreau. “They don’t answer to anybody.”
Mr. Goudreau also asked if there was adequate communication with affected residents about delays and updates in construction. Village Service Director Don Cunningham said that Police Chief Michael Cannon set up a CodeRed for the village for updates on the County Line Road project. Chief Cannon said that residents of Russell Township also signed up for the notifications.
Deputy Finance Director Bernice Schreiber added that Hunting Valley has a $250,000 contingency that has not been used yet.