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$7 million makeover of Fifth Avenue opens

YOUNGSTOWN — Fifth Avenue is open to vehicular traffic, but the improvement project there isn’t finished.

The work to the actual road is done. What’s unfinished is the installation of about 30 metal traffic poles to hold up traffic signals as well as landscaping plants and benches.

While Charles Shasho, the city’s deputy director of public works, was “confident” about a month ago that the poles would arrive by mid-July, he now doesn’t know when they’ll be here as a result of a national shortage.

“I have no indication when we’ll get the poles,” he said. “It could be weeks. It could be a few months. There’s no delivery date on them. Besides that and a little landscaping, the project is finished and the road is open.”

Until the new poles arrive, the city will continue to use the old ones, he said.

The existing poles are to be replaced because they don’t correctly align with the new traffic patterns on the improved road from West Federal Street to Eastbound Service Road, Shasho said.

“They’re aligned enough,” he said of the old poles. “When we get the new ones, the old ones will be taken out and concrete will be poured on the sidewalks for them. It shouldn’t take long to do it once the poles arrive.”

Parella-Pannunzio, the Austintown company that did the street project, recently finished a second layer of asphalt and striped the road. The work began in July 2020.

Along with Wick Avenue, Fifth Avenue is the main corridor that connects Youngstown State University to the city’s downtown. A section of Wick was redone in 2017, closing the street for about a year, to do work that is similar to what was done on Fifth Avenue.

The Fifth Avenue project reduced the number of lanes from two to three in each direction to one in each direction with turning lanes in several locations as well as new lighting, improved curbs and sidewalks, medians and a multi-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Parella-Pannunzio’s proposal for the project was $6.9 million.

Change orders haven’t been submitted, but Shasho expects they will add about 5 percent to the total costs. That would be about $350,000.

It is the first phase of the SMART2 (Strategic and Sustainable, Medical and Manufacturing, Academic and Arts, Residential and Recreation and Technology and Training) Network project.

The city and its partners were awarded a $10.85 million federal grant Dec. 6, 2018, with the rest coming from other federal and state funds as well as dollars and in-kind services from the project’s partners. SMART2 projects are being done in phases through 2023.

The city awarded a $15.7 million contract to Marucci and Gaffney Excavating Co. of Youngstown for the other work to Park and Rayen avenues and another section of Fifth Avenue as well as Commerce, Federal, Front and Phelps streets.

dskolnick@vindy.com

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