By jeanne starmack
A bridge project that will make the brownfields along the Mahoning River more attractive for business development gets under way this month.
The Lower Connector Bridge, which will span the river at the end of Bob Cene Way near Astro Shapes, will connect Struthers to Campbell and eventually to an access road that will be built by Campbell and Youngstown, said Struthers Mayor Terry Stocker.
That road will allow truck traffic in the brownfields corridor, which runs along both sides of the river from Youngstown to Lowellville, to get to the Center Street Bridge without leaving the corridor and tying up regular traffic. The Center Street Bridge will let the trucks get to Interstate 680 more quickly, Stocker said. The two-lane bridge, which will be about 185 feet long, and the future road are part of the Mahoning River Corridor of Opportunity master plan, he said.
The MRCO included Youngstown, Campbell, Struthers and Lowellville but has expanded into the Mahoning River Corridor Initiative. It now also includes five Trumbull County communities, said its director Dan Mamula.
Mamula said the future road also will be an access route to businesses that locate in the corridor.
Mamula said the road is still in the planning stages.
He said there are funding issues, and right-of-way easements are needed from a company called Sherman International. That company dismantled the old steel mills in the brownfields and bought the land.
The funding for the new bridge includes $1,155,320 in stimulus and other federal money and $360,000 from a state grant, Stocker said.
The Ohio Department of Transportation will manage and administer the project, he said.
J.D. Williamson Co. of Akron is the contractor. The company will begin moving in equipment for the project this week, Stocker said.