Oak Harbor: Church Street project on schedule

Staff writer

Construction of the Church Street improvement project in Oak Harbor is progressing.
According to village administrator Randall Genzman, the sewer separation project replacing the village’s wastewater collection lines, some of which were originally built in the 1880s, is on schedule for completion by July 2021.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program awarded the village about $4.1 million in grants and provided a loan for just under $5 million, for the improvements.
“This project is the most aggressive storm water separation project in the history of the village,” said Genzman. “After seven years of negotiations with multiple funding agencies, as well as environmental reviews, preliminary designs and permitting with no less than five federal and state agencies, the project has come to fruition.”
Genzman noted the project timeline for September includes sanitary and storm sewer separation of the Main/Locust Street intersection and the installation of new sidewalks and pavement in the Water and Church streets area.
Since July, village residents have seen road construction and downtown detours necessary to accommodate the project intended to resolve significant inflow and filtration issues with the existing combined wastewater/storm water collection system.
A 2010 Ohio Environmental Protection Agency mandate required the implementation of an overflow control system, which was to have maintained existing service while limiting outfalls into the Portage River.
Genzman said those measures resulted in unforeseen flooding in several areas of the village, due to the elimination of overflow points to the river from the collections system, during rain storms.
Mayor Quinton Babcock said Helms and Sons, a Findlay company contracted to do the work, has been willing to coordinate with the community to facilitate traffic flow and answer questions of the residents.
Babcock noted the improvements will result in the removal of “millions of gallons of storm water from the system,” reducing risks to both residents and the ecosystem. The project will also provide enhanced fire protection with the installation of new fire hydrants, more accessible sidewalks along Church Street and resurfaced roads throughout the downtown areas.
On Thursday, the State Rt. 163 detour was lifted and a new detour for State Rt. 19 was implemented to complete work on the Main Street/State Rt. 19 intersection.


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