By Ed Runyan
Construction to replace the long-closed Olive Street Bridge between Niles and McDonald should begin in March and take about 18 months.
That timetable means the bridge should be open in the fall of 2015, about six years after it closed in 2009.
Officials say the closed bridge has added about 15 minutes to the travel time of most people traveling between Niles and McDonald.
On Wednesday, the Trumbull County commissioners approved a $6.6 million contract between the commissioners and Ohio Department of Transportation for the project, which is being carried out by the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office and Ohio Department of Transportation.
Bids will be opened Dec. 12. The bridge spans the Mahoning River and Norfolk Southern Railroad.
The local cost of the project is $1,079,077, but the engineer’s office secured an Ohio Public Works Commission grant to pay that amount. The Federal Highway Administration is paying the rest.
Randy Smith, Trumbull County engineer, said the new bridge will be two-thirds the length of the current one.
Commissioners also authorized Smith to execute documents relating to acquisition of rights of way needed for the widening of the High Street/Main Street intersection and nearby bridge replacement in Cortland.
Bids will be opened in May 2014, and the work is likely to occur in summer 2014 and spring 2015, said Gary Shaffer, an engineer with the county engineer’s office. There will be road detours during the construction, he noted.
Portions of High Street will be widened just north and south of the intersection to improve traffic flow. Curb and drainage improvements also will occur.
The bridge over Walnut Creek, just east of the intersection, will be replaced because of the age and condition of the current one.
Both projects will cost $1.68 million with grants paying all of Cortland’s share and most of the county’s share.