Solon officials are preparing to take steps to acquire land in the rights of way of residential homeowners needed for the $7 million initial phase of the Aurora Road project planned to begin in 2021.

City Engineer John J. Busch explained to the City Council Public Works Committee last week that the design plans are underway for Phase 1 of the Aurora Road Reconstruction project involving upgrades from just east of the Solon Village Shopping Plaza to the Liberty Road intersection.

The reconstruction will include: widening Aurora Road from two lanes to three lanes, replacing a waterline, improving storm sewer drainage, installing a southbound right turn lane on Liberty Road at Aurora Road, creating a multipurpose path on the south side of Aurora Road, integrating a bike lane on the north side of Aurora Road and installing sidewalks. The new traffic signal at Portz Parkway already is in operation.

GPD, the city’s design consultant on the project, is in the process of preparing right of way acquisition plans, Mr. Busch said. Solon will need extra land for the road widening including frontage of land owned by homeowners and the city. Some of the rights of way will be temporary to allow construction while others will be permanent.

Residents will be paid for the land. Mr. Busch said the city is not that far along in the process to know just how much money needs to be spent reimbursing landowners.

Two real estate consultants will be selected to appraise the right of way land needed for the project.

Mr. Busch said fees for the real estate consultants will be negotiated once selected. The first consultant will be hired to appraise and acquire the parcels and the second will be hired to provide an independent appraisal review.

The committee approved forwarding legislation to City Council, and the matter is set to be on the Monday agenda.

Mr. Busch said he anticipates beginning the process this year with a goal to complete the steps in six months. The actual reconstruction project is slated to begin in early 2021. Phase 2 of the project involves the reconstruction from Liberty Road to the eastern corporation line at Bainbridge Township.

Considered a large scale project, the Aurora Road reconstruction is based on several traffic studies performed along the Aurora Road corridor where the number of rear-end collisions have increased over the years. The initial recommendation was to widen the road to five lanes, but the city reached a compromise to the current widening to three lanes due to the impact on residential homes, Mr. Busch said.

To date, the city has received $1.5 million in ODOT safety funding. Solon will pay the balance of the construction cost. GPD’s design fees to date amount to $615,457, according to city officials.

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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