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home : local news : local news
April 26, 2018

4/8/2018 7:00:00 AM
McCarty Lane project fueled by grants
Outside funding enables Jackson to carry out $1.8 million job
This photo of McCarty Lane in Jackson clearly shows the point near the Fastenal store where the major road rebuilding project ended after the first phase of the project was completed last fall. The remainder of the project will be completed as early as possible in 2018. (Telegram Photo By Pete Wilson)

This photo of McCarty Lane in Jackson clearly shows the point near the Fastenal store where the major road rebuilding project ended after the first phase of the project was completed last fall. The remainder of the project will be completed as early as possible in 2018. (Telegram Photo By Pete Wilson)

The road to a new McCarty Lane in Jackson was paved with a lot of behind-the-scenes planning and is being paid for by a lot of outside money.

The architect of the huge road improvement project, Jackson City Service/Safety Director Bill Sheward, provided a status report and an explanation of how it came about to his fellow Jackson Rotarians at the service club's weekly luncheon meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 20. He described it as "the largest road work project in the city's history."

McCarty Lane is a connector road in the city between U.S. Route 35 and State Route 93, which passes through one of the county's prime areas for future economic development. A number of businesses and offices are already located along its length of 1.34 miles.

In recent years, the road, which was originally built 15-20 years ago, has slowly deteriorated, but the city has lacked the funds on its own for anything more than spot patching and repairs and even the securing of smaller grants would not be sufficient.

Realizing that the city would need what he called "big-guns funding" to get McCarty Lane rebuilt, Sheward did some homework and made some important contacts, most notably with officials at the Ohio Department of Transportation's District 9 office in Chillicothe.

First, it was decided that such potential components as adding a third lane, widening the road and elevating the road would make the project cost-prohibitive. As it was, a total reconstruction of the existing road would cost an estimated $2 million.

With the support and assistance of other parties, the city was able to combine three major outside grants to secure the needed funding: An Ohio Public Works program grant, a JobsOhio Roadwork grant and a Small Cities grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation. As it turned out, the total funding package is $1,827,000 with the city's share of the cost being only $80,000 for engineering.

A key factor in securing a major portion of the funding was the project's importance to current and future economic development in the vicinity and specifically the creation of new jobs at the nearby Speyside Bourbon Cooperage Plant on East Main Street. McCarty Lane was also designated as a county road in order to make it eligible for one of the grants.

The actual construction began late last year and will be done in two phases. The first phase, which was done late last year, involved rebuilding the first initial surface of the longer segment from the roundabout near U.S. Route 35 all the way to in front of the Fastenal store just north of the Veterans Drive intersection.

The second phase will involve completing the second segment from West Virginia Electric to the State Route 93 intersection and putting on a second layer of paving on the first-phase segment.

That work will commence once weather permits this spring and when the contractor and all parties are ready to proceed. The Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 projects all work will be completed by late summer.

Sheward also pointed out several other local major road projects, which have been carried out with little or no city funds: The Main Street hill resurfacing project between Bridge and Portsmouth streets and bridge replacement projects on Harding Avenue, Huron Street and Dickason Street.

"These are the types of projects that we would certainly not be able to do with our own resources," Sheward noted. "We have no source of income for these types of projects."

Sheward said he feels a city income tax would be the long-term solution. He stated an income tax "would go a long way toward providing the sustainability to keep moving our city forward."

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