Eastgate recommends $1.1B in transportation projects in long-range plan

By Ashley Luthern



Eastgate Regional Council of Governments is recommending $1.1 billion in transportation projects in its proposed 20-year long-range plan.

The 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, updated every four years, still is a draft and will go before Eastgate’s General Policy Board in April, said Kathleen Rodi, Eastgate director of transportation.

“It can be very realistic to a degree. All the major transportation projects have come from this plan, like the Meander bridge replacements and expansions,” Rodi said.

The 2040 draft plan includes major transportation projects, such as the widening of Interstate 80 to three lanes in each direction in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Construction on the work on I-80 from Interstate 680 east to state Route 193 (Belmont Avenue), including ramp reconstruction at U.S. Route 422, is slated to begin in 2016. The total project cost is estimated at $97 million.

Another long-term construction project proposes to widen South Avenue from two to five lanes from Midlothian Boulevard to Afton Avenue and improve drainage in the area. Construction on the $8.3 million project likely wouldn’t begin until 2019.

Another project expected to start that year is adding an interchange at Interstate 680 and state Route 164 (South Avenue). Rodi said studies show about 14,000 commuters per year take Route 164 to Western Reserve Road, where they then get on I-680.

“You’re pushing traffic on a roadway that is not designed to carry that much,” she said.

After the long-range plan receives approval from the General Policy Board, it then must be reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. The plan can be viewed online at EastgateCOG.org.

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