The project will be finished in mid-2003, the county engineer said.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- After several years in the planning stages, the first shovels of dirt have been turned in a project that will widen two miles of South Avenue from two lanes to five.
Representatives of the Mahoning County Engineer's office, Ohio Department of Transportation, Boardman Township trustees, county commissioners and U.S. Rep. James Traficant's office were on hand Wednesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for the project, which extends from Presidential Drive to Western Reserve Road.
Richard Marsico, county engineer, said work has begun with the clearing of newly acquired land along both sides of the road. He said the project should be completed by July 2003.
Project's funding: Total cost is just over $8.12 million. The project is being funded by the county engineer's office, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments and federal highway funds administered by the County Engineers Association of Ohio.
Jerry Bailey of A.P. O'Horo, contractor for the project, said work is being done on the east side of the road first. Construction crews will then work on the west side with more available working room, which will result in fewer traffic holdups.
"We know this will be a little inconvenience to residents, but it will be well worth it once the project is completed," he said.
Bailey said several streets will be designated as detour routes for motorists.
Work by Ameritech: Steve Kristan, director of external affairs at Ameritech, said Ameritech has begun moving utility poles back from what will soon be paved road. He said the company will also add more fiber-optic cables to accommodate business growth in the township.
According to John Getchey, executive director of ERCG, improvements to the section of the road starting at Midlothian Boulevard and ending at Western Reserve Road have been under consideration since 1984 when the estimated cost was about $1 million. In 1994, plans to widen the road to four lanes were put into action and later public demand called for a fifth lane, which will be for left turns.
Getchey said portions of the road have been done over time and other sections will be completed after the project is finished. Afton Avenue to Presidential Drive has been widened, and the section from Midlothian Boulevard to Afton Avenue will be completed in the future.