The road will be widened from two lanes to five between Presidential Drive and Western Reserve Road.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
BOARDMAN -- The long-awaited widening of South Avenue here is scheduled to begin next month.
"Everything is in place and the project is ready to go," said Mahoning County Engineer Richard Marsico.
A.P. O'Horo Company of Belmont Avenue has been hired as the general contractor with a low bid of $4.5 million. There were seven bids submitted, ranging as high as $5.3 million.
The bid was slightly higher than the estimated cost of $4.3 million, but was within the acceptable range so a contract could be awarded, Marsico said.
The work: The project will widen nearly two miles of South Avenue, between Presidential Drive and Western Reserve Road, from two lanes to five. The expansion is needed to accommodate increased traffic demands in the area, Marsico said.
Work will include resurfacing, storm sewer installation, pavement markings and signs.
There will also be a traffic light installed at South Avenue and Western Reserve Road, which should help ease congestion there, said Marilyn Kenner, chief deputy engineer.
The project is being funded by the Ohio Engineer's Fund, Federal Highway Administration and the county engineer's office.
Marsico said his staff will meet with the contractors for a preconstruction conference later this month, with construction to begin shortly afterward.
The company has already set up a construction yard along South Avenue where its equipment sits ready to start moving dirt. The project is scheduled to be completed by July 31, 2003, but Marsico said he's hoping it can be fast-tracked and finished well before then.
Marsico said utility companies have already started moving poles and natural gas lines back from the road to make way for the widening.
Delay: The project was supposed to have started two years ago, with the road to be widened to four lanes instead of five. The public and local officials asked for addition of the fifth lane, which will be a turning lane, and that caused much of the delay.
The county had to buy more land along both sides of the road to make room for the widening. The additional land would not have been necessary for a four-lane project.