Marietta chooses firm for traffic study

MARIETTA – The firm slated to perform a traffic impact study surrounding Butler Street has been selected.

Marietta College proposed to Marietta City Council earlier this year an idea to close Butler Street between Seventh and Fourth streets so the college can upgrade buildings and build a new student union/community building on campus.

The college is in a planning phase right now for potential improvements to the campus.

Before a decision can be made, a traffic study is planned for the street.

City Engineer Joe Tucker, Councilwoman Kathy Downer, Traffic Commission Chairwoman Willa O’Neill and Marietta College Director of Physical Plant Fred Smith sit on the committee which selected the firm TEC Engineering, out of Mason, on Thursday.

“They have a long history of signal and traffic safety study experience with Marietta,” noted Tucker. “We did a quality-based selection after posting the qualifications needed on the Ohio Department of Transportation’s website.”

Tucker said nine firms submitted letters of interest and qualifications, similar to a cover letter and resume submission for job postings.

“When we posted a description of what we want in the project we also included a scoring matrix that we would grade their firms on,” he continued. “TEC scored the highest with 98 out of 100, the second highest was a 93, for TranSystems.”

Tucker then outlined what he called an aggressive schedule for what’s next.

¯ Thursday: City and Marietta College personnel will meet with TEC to discuss and finalize a scope of services.

¯ Friday: A proposal with the final scope of services and fees will be due.

¯ Oct. 24: Marietta City Council’s Streets Committee will review a contract with TEC and the public is welcome to comment at this meeting to be held at 4:15 p.m. in room 10 of the Armory.

¯ Nov. 1: Formal council meeting to authorize a contract for the impact study.

¯ Nov. 2. Notice to proceed.

¯ Nov. 5. TEC sub-contractor mobilizes with data gathering portion of the study.

“We’d like to get this done before the college’s winter break,” explained Downer earlier this week. “That only makes sense to have it studied while school is in session there and there are events going on. Plus, the sooner the study is done, the sooner the college can know what plans to pursue with its fundraising.”

Tucker said in that data-gathering stage traffic counts will be noted not only along Butler Street, but the entire square four blocks from Greene Street to Seventh Street, Seventh to Putnam, Putnam to Third and Third to Greene.

“We’ll have them consider the origin and destination and potential rerouting too,” noted Tucker. “This may even involve a temporary closure of Butler for a few weeks to actually see real impact and give all of the parties, fire, police, driving public, traffic commission and the college, to voice any concerns.”

Then tentatively in mid-January, Tucker would expect to see the results of the study, with a presentation identifying impacts and potential risks.

“That’s not where this ends though. At that point once they’ve identified any potential negative impacts, I’ll then turn to them seeking options for mitigating them,” he explained.

Smith could not be reached for comment.