West end travelers who head to the Port Clinton area could experience delays when an upgrade takes place on a major thoroughfare into the city next year.
About a month ago, Ottawa County Commissioners set official plans in motion to begin work on the Fremont Road Safety and Improvement Project, according to the commissioners’ records. The county has jurisdiction over the stretch of road that runs from the Ohio 53/Ohio 2 interchange by the BP Station in Bay Township to the Port Clinton City Limits, located near Rich’s Drive-Thru on Fremont Road.
The section is one of three main entries into the city, with traffic especially heavy during the morning and evening rush hours. Port Clinton is also the county seat for Ottawa County. So a majority of the offices are based there, primarily at the Ottawa County Courthouse in the city’s downtown.
The improvement project is expected to include milling down the present pavement, repaving the existing road surface and upgrading the drainage, Ottawa County Engineer Dave Brunkhorst said.
There are no plans to turn the two-lane stretch into a four-lane. However, the project will include a paved shoulder to improve safety issues.
Semi-trucks and garbage collection trucks often parked alongside the road create safety problems as other motorists attempt to maneuver around them, Brunkhorst explained.
“Garbage trucks and semi-trucks pull off the road pretty regularly there. The paving itself will be two lanes but we will be doing a paved shoulder – if you would. It (Fremont Road) hasn’t had anything done to it in forever,” the county engineer added.
Project funds will be financed through an Ohio public works fund, along with a matching sum from the county. The Ohio Public Works Commission annually provides millions of dollars for projects. Local subdivisions, such as counties, municipal corporations, townships, sanitary or regional sewer or water districts, are eligible to apply.
The estimated costs for the upgrade are not known yet.
Survey crews from the engineer’s office have been working along Fremont Road for weeks taking road measurements and shooting grades. Those facts and figures will then be compiled to help create project plans and specifications for contractors.
Brunkhorst said he did not have a specific timeline for the start of the project.
“We hope to have the data complete and a set of plans ready for bid sometime in late spring,” he said.