The Ohio Department of Transportation District 4 held a meeting in Boardman last week to provide information on planned projects that will be starting this year. Among those projects is the replacement of two bridges on U.S. 224 over Interstate 680. That project will get under way this summer.
District 4 covers Ashtabula, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Mahoning counties. This year, the district has 90 construction projects taking place with at a total of $445.3 million. Of that total, $49.2 million will be spent in Mahoning County. That amount includes the rehabilitation of seven bridges on I-680 in Youngstown, and the U.S. 224 bridge replacement on the Boardman-Poland border. It will include a realignment of the I-680 ramps as well.
"If you are heading south on I-680 and getting off at U.S. 224, there is a merge condition that will be realigned," said Justin Chesnic, District 4 public information officer.
He said the ramp will be realigned with a t-intersection that will require a traffic light. Once the ramps have been redone, the focus will turn to the bridges.
The project, according to ODOT's Mahoning County engineer Joe Alfano, went out to bid April 25. The whole project is expected to cost $5.7 million and will take two years to complete.
"In 2013, we will complete the ramp work, utility relocations and the culvert work," Alfano said. "In 2014, we will shut down one bridge at a time and begin the replacement."
He said the congestion for motorists traveling around that intersection would be minimal this year. In 2014, when the bridge work begins, the traffic congestion will be what Alfano termed as "major."
"There will be a lot of congestion early on," he said. "but as people find alternate route, it should ease a bit."
The plan next year is to shut down one bridge and divert traffic to the second bridge. The active bridge will have traffic traveling in both directions, which could create a bottleneck during peak hours.
Both bridges will be replaced and widened on U.S. 224 and also the bridge over Yellow Creek in Poland Village.
Chesnic said there won't be any surprises for area businesses from this project. The plans are to meet with the estimated 150 businesses and business owners who will be affected by the project. He said access to local businesses will be kept open during the construction, but they found that meeting before the project begins helps ease any potential problems down the road.
"We will sit down with each business, one-on-one, prior to the start of the project," Chesnic said.
Other District 4 projects on the 2013 program in Mahoning County include the following:
Beaver and Boardman townships: Resurfacing I-680 between U.S. 224 and the Ohio Turnpike. Cost is $4.7 million and will be awarded in November of this year with a completion date in November 2014.
Berlin and Milton townships: Resurfacing U.S. 224 from the county line to just west of Ohio 534, and 534 from 224 to Trumbull County line. Cost is $3.8 million and will be awarded in July with a completion date this November.
City of Canfield: Resurfacing U.S. 224 from Ohio 46 to Talsman Drive. Start date is August of this year with completion in October.
Beaver Township: Replace and widen the Ohio 164 bridge over I-680. The $5.4 million project will be awarded this October with completion expected in one year from that date.
Struthers, Youngstown, Boardman: Resurfacing U.S. 62 and Ohio 170. Cost $2 million. To be awarded in September with completion in one year after award.
City of Youngstown: Redecking U.S. 422 over U.S. 62 and Ohio 7. Cost is $2.5 million to be awarded in November with completion in one year.
City of Youngstown: Resurfacing six entrance/exit ramps on U.S. 62 and I-680. Cost $700,00. To be awarded in May and completed by October.
Green Township: Intersection improvements and the addition of a turning lane on Ohio 46 at the new South Range School complex. Cost is $1.9 million and will be awarded in May with completion expected in September.
Projects presently active include the bridge replacements on U.S. 422 and Ohio 616 over Dry Run Creek, the rehab of seven bridges on I-680 in Youngstown, the culvert replacement on Ohio 534, the resurfacing of Ohio 165 in the southern part of the county, the Ohio 165 bridge replacement over Mill Creek, and the replacement of two bridges on Ohio 46 in Green Township.
Dave Reich, ODOT District 4 construction administrator said, "Mahoning County has 19 projects at a cost of $49 million. For every $100,000 in projects, we expect to create 2,200 construction jobs."