Public should give input on Valley road projects


Judging by plans unveiled last week by the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, tens of thousands of Mahoning Valley motorists had better brace themselves for plenty of “Road Work Ahead” signs.

That’s because leaders of the Transportation Improvement Program of ERCOG, the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula counties, unveiled blueprints at its public meeting last week of some 53 road and bridge projects valued at more than $76.3 million that are primed for construction over the next four years.

On the surface level, the list of priority projects, developed by a coalition of leaders in communities large and small in our region in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Transportation, are bound to bring smiles to many faces. Their intended goals include repairing and rehabilitating aging and crumbling roadways and bridges, reducing areas of congestion and improving overall air quality.

Among the largest projects planned in Mahoning and Trumbull counties are these:

Construction of a new Interstate 680 interchange at state Route 164 in North Lima designed to alleviate heavy congestion at the Western Reserve Road intersection at a cost of $12.7 million. That project is slated for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins in July. Complementing that project will be construction of a new roundabout to smooth traffic flow at Routes 164 and 626 and replacement of the aging bridge carrying Route 164 over the Ohio Turnpike with a wider and stronger span

Resurfacing of a large stretch of Mahoning Avenue from the Meander Reservoir Bridge to the Youngstown city limits at Meridian Road. That $3 million project is scheduled for completion in fiscal year 2021.

Reconstruction of state Route 422 in Warren from Laird Avenue to Ridge Road at a cost of $3.9 million with a completion date of 2018.

For a complete list of projects, interested residents can visit Eastgate Regional COG’s website or its Facebook page.

PLEA FROM COG OFFICIAL

We join Eastgate’s Stephen Zubyk, manager of Eastgate’s transportation improvement program, in encouraging residents to review the projects and send any comments or concerns about them to the regional COG at 100 E. Federal St. , Suite 1000, in Youngstown.

“We reach out to everyone to make sure these projects aren’t having a negative impact on people in any type of community,” he said.

Even though some of the projects won’t be shovel-ready for a couple of years, residents concerned about possible negative ramifications should alert Zubyk and others at the metropolitan planning group as soon as possible to ensure adequate time is available to address them, particularly should revisions in construction plans become warranted.

After gaining maximum public input, another familiar road-sign theme at this time of year – “Your Tax Dollars at Work” – can gain maximum respect and credibility among Valley motorists.

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