MAHONING RIVER $120M project will start in 2006
Design work will be done in phases with funding secured to cover the first phase.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
WARREN -- A feasibility study on the estimated $120 million Mahoning River restoration project is expected to be released early next year.
Project manager Carmen Rozzi of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh said the project, one of the largest Corps projects in the country, would be implemented over 10 to 15 years. Once the study is released, the roughly $13.5 million design phase can begin.
Of that amount, 75 percent will be covered by federal dollars with the remaining 25 percent from nonfederal sources.
Rozzi said the design work will be broken into phases, the first of which will be in Warren followed by the river's sections in Girard, Youngstown and Campbell, Struthers and Lowellville.
About $1.1 million toward the first section has been secured through a multistate settlement regarding LTV Corporation's discharge of pollutants. That will provide the nonfederal portion of the first $4 million with the federal government supplying the rest.
While design work is down on the first phase, state, local and federal entities will work to secure money for the remaining portions of design work, Rozzi said.
The Ohio Department of Transportation will remove two dams from the 31-mile Mahoning River as part of the restoration project.
Work is to begin today to remove the Lover's Lane Dam. That project is estimated at between $45,000 and $50,000. Next spring, ODOT will remove the North River Road Dam.
The dam removal is part of the Raglan Road project. Because the road project placed the new Raglan over an unnamed tributary of Mosquito Creek, ODOT had to find another stream to replace it to comply with Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Projection Agency regulations.
Those regulations require restoration or preservation of one stream to make up for destruction of another.
ODOT was approached by Eastgate Council of Regional Governments, Trumbull County Planning Commission and the Corps for the dam removal. Jennifer Richmond, an ODOT District 4 spokeswoman, said the dam removal complies with those regulations.
Rozzi said the estimated project cost has increased from the $100 million figured several months ago to $120 million in the feasibility study because those involved in the study determined that the additional work provided a better environmental quality outcome.
The bulk of the cost comes from removal and remediation of contaminated sediment in the river and along its banks.
A recent benefit analysis of a clean Mahoning River prepared by the Army Corps and its partners estimated the area could realize $2.5 million annually from a clean Mahoning River just from direct recreation.