Project to close section of Phelps downtown

By David Skolnick


North Phelps Street from West Federal to West Commerce streets will be closed for at least six months beginning Monday.

The downtown project will include the installation of an AT&T duct bank containing telephone conduits and the rerouting of telephone lines, including about 20,000 splices, said Charles Shasho, the city’s deputy director of public works.

The project was to occur five years ago, but it came to a stop after only a month of work when it was discovered that underground utilities, primarily AT&T lines and three duct banks, were directly in the path of the sewer line.

“There was no way to reach the sewer, so it was decided to relocate the duct banks,” Shasho said. “Instead of three, AT&T will have one [duct bank], and with the several thousand splices needed, it’s going to take some time.”

Vehicular traffic will be closed during the work, he said.

Also, pedestrian traffic on the east side of the street will remain open at all times, but it will be restricted on the east side to only the entrances to buildings, Shasho said.

West Commerce Street between Hazel Street and Wick Avenue will have lane restrictions and possibly short-term lane closures as needed during the work.

The work will cost about $943,000 and is being done by Marucci & Gaffney Excavating of Youngstown.

After the AT&T work is finished, the city will replace a 24-inch sanitary sewer line on that street. That project likely will start in the fall, Shasho said.

The sewer line is one of the oldest in the city.

In addition to replacing the sewer line, the work includes new gas and waterlines, new sidewalks, streetlights and other streetscape improvements, Shasho said.

Once this project is finished, the sanitary sewer line along Phelps from the Youngstown State University campus to the location of the proposed Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater will be replaced, he said.

The city is considering closing the section of North Phelps between Federal and Commerce permanently to vehicular traffic when the project is done and turn it into a pedestrian entertainment area, Shasho said.

Options include shutting it down on evenings and/or weekends only. The city hasn’t made a decision and won’t until it has a public meeting to get input from residents, he said.

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