In the nearly two decades that Chris Bauserman has served as Delaware County engineer, he does not recall holding a groundbreaking ceremony for a transportation project.
That is until Thursday when county officials and community members gathered at the current terminus of Sawmill Parkway to mark the beginning of a $30.4 million project to extend the road from Hyatts Road to 1,600 feet north of U.S. 42.
“If there’s ever a project deserving of this kind of attention, it’s this project,” he said.
The project has been in the works for decades. It was part of a Southern Delaware County Thoroughfare Plan in 1989 when Bauserman began working for the county. A breakthrough occurred last year when the county and city of Delaware agreed to cost-sharing terms on the project.
“It has been a slow and tedious and sometimes frustrating process to get this far,” Delaware Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle said.
The roadway will provide another north-south thoroughfare in the county, and open up about 1,600 acres for development at the city’s expanded industrial park.
One company at the industrial park is already in the process of expanding its operations due to the road extension, according to Sean Hughes, the city’s economic development director.
“This is an extension that will bring great prosperity to our county,” said Commissioner Barb Lewis.
Through an agreement inked last year, the city of Delaware will pay for the portion of the construction within its boundaries with revenue generated from a Tax Increment Financing zone at its industrial park. A Tax Increment Financing district – or TIF district – is a public-financing mechanism that diverts property tax revenue from value added to developed land into a fund dedicated to infrastructure improvements in the designated area.
The four-lane roadway will include roundabouts at the intersections of Bunty Station Road, Bean Oller Road, Clark-Shaw Road and Ford Road. A signalized intersection with turn lanes will be constructed at U.S. 42.
Commissioner Gary Merrell said the project will spur economic development and provide another north-south thoroughfare in the county.
“We’re all going to benefit from this project,” he said.
The project is slated to be completed by Oct. 31, 2016.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.