The intersection of Bluebell Drive and West High Avenue in New Philadelphia will receive some safety upgrades next year as part of a project being funded by the Ohio Department of Transportation. (Photo by Stacey Carmany, Tusco TV)

New Philadelphia, Ohio - City officials are moving forward with plans to upgrade the intersection of Bluebell Drive and West High Avenue with crosswalks and new pedestrian-friendly traffic signals.

During their October 8 meeting, members of the New Philadelphia City Council approved the last resolution needed for the Ohio Department of Transportation to accept bids for the project, which is expected to begin next year and will be completed at no cost to the city.  

New Philadelphia Service Director Ron McAbier says the final plans submitted to ODOT mirror those that were presented to council last year as far as crosswalks, signalization and lane changes but do not include any sidewalks, which were omitted from the plans after the project was turned down for federal grant funding.

The original plans called for the installation of sidewalks along both roads, which the city was hoping to pay for with a grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

McAbier explains that the city had applied for the grant for two different projects, and the other project was selected for funding. 

“We put in for the east side of Bluebell getting curbs and sidewalks. We also put them in for around the lagoon area at Lakeview because of all the traffic we get in there during all the events that we have out at Quaker Stadium,” he says. “We were fortunate enough that they granted us for that project, and unfortunately, then, you get bounced on another one.”

McAbier says the final plans call for the installation of new traffic signals, handicap-accessible curbs, and crosswalks from El San Jose to Denny’s and from Denny’s to Burger King, which will make the area safer pedestrian travel. 

 “It will allow you to get across High Street, which is a huge safety concern,” he says. “I’m glad that with the help of ODOT we’re going to be able to address that down there.” 

Lane changes are also planned to ensure that pedestrians have enough time to safely cross the busy intersection. The plan calls for the restriping of the two Eastbound lanes of West High Avenue into a  through/right lane and a designated left turn lane, and the westbound lanes into a through/right lane, a through lane and a designated left turn lane. 

McAbier says the submission of the finalized plans is the final piece that will allow the project to go out to bid.

He says the city is grateful to ODOT for its willingness to fund the project. 

“I can’t say enough about our relationship we have with ODOT, for them to realize that we need some things done there and for them to step up with 100 percent of the dollars needed. We’re definitely thankful for that,” he says.


This drawing prepared by Civil Design Associates, Inc., depicts the changes planned for the intersection of Bluebell Drive and West High Avenue in New Philadelphia. (Submitted)

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