News Column

City prepares to start $5 million street paving plan

May 20, 2014

By Shelley Terry, Star Beacon, Ashtabula, Ohio



May 20--ASHTABULA -- City Council Monday night readied for a $5 million street paving program to attack damage left by a bitterly cold winter.

City Manager Jim Timonere will file and implement, through the Ohio Department of Transportation, a State Infrastructure Bank loan to provide a portion of the needed money. The city doesn't have to start paying back the loan until the work is done -- at the end of three years. The remainder of the money will come from a bond issuance.

"We hope to be tearing things up by the end of June, beginning of July," Timonere said. "I hope it's June."

Guest speaker Christopher J. Tolnar, an engineer with GPD Group of Youngstown, said the "highly anticipated road paving project" will pave 25 miles of city streets. The work will be split into three parts to give smaller contractors an opportunity to bid, he said.

"We are hoping it's such a big project that we will get aggressive bidding, reduced cost and some left-over money at the end of three years," Tolnar said.

Ward 4 Councilwoman Josephine Misener said, "It's a wonderful thing."

A tentative list of some of the streets (not all of the streets) to be re-surfaced are:

--Phase 1: Streets on the southeast side of the lift bridge, such as Griswold, West 57th Street, Westshore Drive, Ann, Jefferson, Thayer, Ohio and Lyndon avenues.

--Phase 2: All of Walnut Boulevard, Adams Avenue, Hamlin Drive, Summer Avenue, Norwood Drive, Strong Avenue and Center Street.

--Phase 3: The east side of the city, including West 58th Street, Alfred Drive, Seventh St., Harmon and part of Columbus Avenue.

A chip and seal program, maintenance and new guidelines for utility cuts also will be implemented, Timonere said.

The city will borrow $5 million for 15 years to pay for the program.

Timonere said the current system is not getting the job done.

Last year, the city spent $100,000 and just got Main Avenue done. The prior year, the city spent $300,000 and got only a few streets done.

"This is the worse winter we had in a long time and we're very sensitive to potholes," Timonere said.

Tolnar said, "You have to get the water off of the road."

The $5 million project includes rebuilding drainage and fixing catch basins on many of the streets on the list, he said.

Vice President Chris McClure said the city has no other alternative if it ever wants to fix its road problems.

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Source: Star Beacon (Ashtabula, OH)