Fifth Avenue widening to cost $21 million

Staff report


Jim Kinnick, executive director of Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, said an upcoming project to widen Fifth Avenue and add walkways is projected to cost $21 million.

Eastgate hosted its quarterly Grow Mahoning Valley meeting Tuesday morning, highlighting a handful of prioritized infrastructure projects expected to spur economic growth in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. Currently, the organization has 10 projects.

The Fifth Avenue project would make the road three lanes with 14-foot walkways on either side and create a driverless shuttle corridor along Fifth and Rayen avenues, connecting Youngstown State University, Mercy Health’s St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital and the Western Reserve Transit Authority station along Mahoning Avenue, Kinnick said Tuesday.

He said the organization is seeking $11 million in federal infrastructure dollars through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s BUILD grant program, which provides $1.5 billion for communities nationwide and will be awarded in late fall. The organization has an additional $10 million in in-kind donations, he said.

The BUILD grant also would fund improvements along Commerce, Federal, Front and Phelps streets and along Park Avenue near the hospital.

Jim Tressel, YSU president, highlighted the project during his State of the University Address last week.

Grow Mahoning Valley attendees also heard updates on another about $10 million widening project along Western Reserve Road, which county Engineer Patrick Ginnetti said is his department’s top priority.

He said though the Mahoning Transportation Improvement District was unsuccessful in a recent bid for Ohio Department of Transportation funds granted to such districts, the district recently received $2.8 million in safety grants, which he said will “get the ball rolling.”

Work could begin in 2023, he said.

“There’s obviously an issue with congestion. There’s issues with access,” Ginnetti said. “The safety committee felt this was a good project.”

Kinnick said Eastgate also is eyeing a project to reconfigure the interchange at state Routes 46 and 82 near Eastwood Mall in Howland Township into a diamond, which would decrease accidents while speeding up traffic.

The results of a recent safety study in that area and suggested improvements will be presented at a public meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 5 in the Howland High School cafeteria, 200 Shaffer Drive NE, Warren.

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