Salem road work getting to be a grind

SALEM — South Union Avenue is getting ground down and paved for the third time since 2014, but city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst said Columbia Gas of Ohio agreed to foot the bill for this year’s effort.

The utility provider made 32 cuts into the pavement on South Union stretching from East State to Franklin Avenue this summer as part of its statewide gas main and service line replacement project which is being done over many years. He explained the contractor doing the work can’t bore under the pavement due to the proximity to existing infrastructure in the ground, including city water and sewer lines.

South Union was originally repaved in 2014, but there was a problem with the quality of the asphalt so the paving contractor returned in 2015 to redo the paving on South Union and several other streets.

Columbia Gas of Ohio also had to cut into State Street near Tim Hortons in the westbound curb lane.

In both cases, the company is paying for the repaving, which includes grinding down the existing asphalt.

“I just want to stress how easy it’s been to work with them,” Kenst said.

Columbia Gas of Ohio has done a handful of the gas main and service line replacement projects in the city the last few years and has tried to work around the street projects and cooperated with the city.

“We’re very pleased,” he said.

The grinding on South Union Avenue took place Wednesday, but Kenst didn’t have an exact date for when the street will be paved.

This year’s street paving project is more than 50 percent complete, with the grinding finished. The hope is for all the paving to be done by the end of the month.

Mayor John Berlin said once the paving is complete, then the work will be done to collar the manholes with concrete for a smoother ride. He said they’re trying to avoid those dips in the pavement that can occur by the manhole covers being sunk down. The collars keep them level with the pavement and will make the job easier in the future.