The viaduct will remain open to traffic while it is being replaced.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- After 10 years of talking and design work, construction to replace the Main Street viaduct begins May 6.
State, county and city officials were on hand Friday to break ground for the $5.6 million project that supports state Route 46.
J.D. Williamson Construction Inc. of Talmadge, the lowest bidder, is scheduled to complete the work by October 2003.
Most of the construction cost is being picked up by state and federal government, with the county chipping in 1 percent.
Mayor Ralph A. Infante, who termed the structure a "landmark," said a portion of the bridge will remain open to traffic during construction.
This is being done, the mayor explained, so the south side of the city isn't shut off from the rest of the city, especially to safety services.
The police and fire stations are located just off the north end of the bridge.
First and Second streets will be closed at Route 46 during construction. There will be no left turn from northbound Route 46 to State Street.
Fortunately, Infante asserted, the city has enough money to continue to help fund projects.
Sidewalk, turn lane
The new 680-foot span over railroad tracks and the Mahoning River will be 54 feet wide with a 7-foot-wide sidewalk on the west side of the bridge with a concrete barrier.
The span will contain two lanes in each direction and a fifth turning lane at each end.
Mohamed Darwish, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation District 4 in Ravenna, said that if it weren't for the partnership among the government levels, replacement would not get done.
County engineer John Latell said that replacement of the bridge, which originally opened Oct. 20, 1932, was first discussed in November 1992, and that 10 years is on the "fast track."
County commissioner Michael J. O'Brien pointed out that such projects usually take 15 to 20 years from the discussion stage to completion.
The bridge replaced an old iron bridge that was torn down.