Reconstruction of Cummings Lane set to start

Donelle Pardee Whiting

Traffic on North Cummings Lane to Oak Ridge Park will soon be a challenge for people going to the park and residents living in the nearby neighborhoods.

Residents filled the Washington District Library meeting room Thursday night to learn how the upcoming reconstruction of North Cummings Lane from Route 24 to Oak Ridge Park would affect them.

City engineer Ken Newman explained what will be done, provided copies of the plans for residents to look at and answered questions.

The project will not only replace storm sewers, curbs and gutters, it will also widen the street to three lanes consisting of two lanes of traffic with a center turn lane from St. Clare Crossing to Chestnut. On the north side of Chestnut, city administrator Bob Morris said, the street will begin to taper back to two lanes all the way to the park.

However, those lanes will be on average about one foot wider than the current street.

In addition, an 8-foot-wide sidewalk will be added to the west side for the entire length of the road.

When asked why a sidewalk will not be put in on the east side, Newman said there is not enough city right of way.

The project will be in five phases, Newman said.

Phase I involves storm sewer replacement from Chestnut to Santa Fe.

During that time, traffic will continue to be two-way along North Cummings; however, there will be flaggers, Newman said.

Phases II and III involve pavement and curb and gutter work on first the west side and then the east side of the street.

During these two phases, southbound traffic between Chestnut and Park will be routed through the subdivision.

Northbound traffic will remain unchanged.

Residents living on those streets expressed concern that people not familiar with the area who are going to and from the soccer fields in Oak Ridge Park may become confused.

Newman said the city will put up clearly marked detour signs.

Another concern was drivers speeding through the neighborhoods.

“On any given day, there are people speeding down Cummings,” one resident said, asking if there would be increased police presence during the construction.

Morris and Newman said they would discuss the matter with Police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker, but they thought increased patrols could be managed.

Morris added the city has two “speed trainer,” remote radar devices that notify drivers of their speed.

He said it could be possible to place one of the trainers in the subdivision during that time.

During Phase IV, construction will move to the section of Cummings between Chestnut and Route 24.

Traffic will return to two-way with flaggers, Newman said.

The final phase will be the installation of the sidewalk and laying down the final layer of asphalt.

Work is expected to begin in mid-April and is be completed in mid-August, Newman said.

The work is scheduled to be from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. On those days where it is necessary to work past 3:30 p.m., workers will continue until 5:30 p.m.

Newman said the construction will alleviate drainage along North Cummings and  improved safety.

The project is expected to cost $900,000 by the time it is completed.

The city budgeted for the project, and because of the roadway improvement fee for all new lots that are developed, the city has been able to put aside money for the reconstruction work.

Newman said the city will not need to increase taxes to pay for the work.

Washington Park District executive director Doug Damery said once the reconstruction of North Cummings Lane is complete, the park district will look into the possibility of repaving the drive into Oak Ridge Park.

Damery added that the park district plans to  work on extending the recreation trail along the south side of North Cummings Lane to extend to Route 24.

Newman said there will be dust and noise, but in the end, there will be a brand new road.

“I would like to ask for everyone’s cooperation and patience,” he added.