CONSTRUCTION PROJECT Traffic relief: Shields Road bridge reopens
Officials said the bridge was completed Aug. 20, just as planned.
By JULIE A. WAGNER
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Nicholas Rossi is 11 years away from driving, but he may be the most excited of all that the Shields Road bridge over Mill Creek opened Friday morning.
The 5-year-old Boardman child helped officials cut the ribbon Friday to dedicate the bridge and open it to traffic for the first time since May 10. The opening is expected to relieve some of the traffic congestion on U.S. Route 224 caused by the closing of it and Western Reserve Road.
Nicholas, who lives nearby, has visited the site every few days since construction began in May, said his mother Patti Atwood. Nicholas has taken pictures of the building process and plans to make a poster to be displayed at the Mahoning County Engineer's booth at the Canfield Fair, said Atwood, who also works at Eastgate Council of Governments, which provided some funds for the $828,000 project.
Nicholas became interested in the project because last year he would pass over the bridge each day on his way to day care, Atwood said.
Contractor Roy Shook of Shook Brothers Inc. of Berlin Center credited Mahoning County's cooperation for getting the project done in time and under budget. When bad weather delayed the progress, the county allowed the firm to work seven days a week, 13 hours a day, Shook said.
He said the bridge was an example of what can be done when state, local and private forces work as a team.
"This bridge went together like clockwork," Shook said.
"It's a great day for Boardman. It's a great day for Mahoning County," said Mahoning Commissioner David Ludt. Other county officials and Boardman trustees were also present.
The four-lane bridge is 60 feet across, which is more than twice as wide as the former two-lane span, said county Engineer Richard Marsico. The bridge now includes left turn lanes onto Sheban Drive at the west end of the bridge and lanes at the side for bikers and walkers, he said. The traffic lights have been upgraded, he said.
The rails on the side are a combination of metal and wood to maintain the natural setting.
Funding for the bridge came from intersection improvement money handled by Eastgate and federal moneys from the County Engineers Association of Ohio. County bridge levy funds paid for design engineering.
Thomas Fok and Associates of Austintown were the design engineers.