By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer
LEBANON - Though orange barrels and detour signs are still a common sight in this historic city, the first two phases of the $11.5-million Main Street project are finished.
Last week marked the halfway point for the two-year-plus reconstruction of the city's major artery. The project is largely funded by grants.
The two-mile stretch of road is being widened to three lanes, with the center being a turn lane.
On-street parking will disappear, and utilities will be upgraded.
"When it was only two lanes, anyone turning left would back up traffic for miles," said Peg Enigk, a project engineer with the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The next two construction phases will stretch from Broadway to Glosser Road.
The upgrades have been talked about for decades. In 2001, tests found that the sewer lines underneath the street were in critical condition.
Some Main Street residents were able to delay the construction until last year by fighting the city in court, arguing that the roadwork and truck traffic could harm the foundations of their historic homes.
But those who attended a small halfway-point celebration last week were excited that the project had finally taken off. They commemorated the milestone by cutting a yellow ribbon strung between two orange barrels.
"I remember when the roads and the curbs were falling apart," said Mayor Amy Brewer, a longtime Lebanon resident. "It truly represents now a beautiful entrance to our community."
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