The suspension bridge is set for rehabilitation work next year.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Work is expected to start by mid-May on a new bridge over Mahoning Avenue for users of the Mill Creek MetroParks Bikeway.
At a meeting Monday, park commissioners awarded a contract for the construction to A.P. O'Horo of Youngstown, which submitted the lowest bid of about $1.5 million.
The park district received a $1.8 million federal highway grant through the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Program for the project.
"About 15 years ago we had this idea that as we all know eventually became the MetroParks Bikeway," said Steve Avery, park district landscape architect. "But there was always this problem of how do we get users safely across Mahoning Avenue."
All of the options considered carried hefty costs so the park simply marked it with a flashing light and signage.
The bikeway, which opened several years ago, runs through much of the county, attracting cyclists, walkers and runners.
Although no accidents have occurred where the path crosses Mahoning Avenue in Austintown, Avery said the park district hears from residents who say they turn around at the intersection and others who don't let their children cross it.
He said that Susan Dicken, park executive director, wouldn't let the idea of improving the crossing die. She sought the grant through Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.
Avery expects work to start by the middle of next month and the project to take about five months. The crossing won't be usable during construction.
Silver Bridge repairs
Park commissioners also heard Avery's presentation of work planned for one of the best-known symbols of Mill Creek Park.
The suspension bridge on Valley Drive in Youngstown, which also is called the Silver Bridge or the Cinderella Bridge, is set for rehabilitation.
"It's often identified as Mill Creek Park," Avery said. "It's a special bridge. It's our Mahoning Valley bridge and no one else has it."
The 86-foot-long bridge, built in 1895, has received a poor overall rating according to Ohio Department of Transportation standards.
The project is to rehabilitate, repair, clean and paint the bridge.
Cost estimate is $190,357 with a federal highway administration grant covering 80 percent, or $152,286. The park will pay the remainder.
The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
Repairs were made in 1931, which included replacing the original timber decking. In 1973, a major rehabilitation project was completed because of structural deficiencies.
The park district expects to advertise the project early next year with construction done in the summer of 2006.