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The Suburbanite
  • Mahoning Road project in line for $15 million

  • The Mahoning Road Corridor project is expected to receive $15 million in state funding. The Mahoning project includes new side

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  • The Mahoning Road Corridor project is expected to get a $15 million boost.
    The Ohio Department of Transportation said Thursday that the state’s Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) is proposing $15 million for the Mahoning Road project, which includes new sidewalks, traffic signals, signs and bus shelters as well as bus lane improvements.
    The Mahoning project is part of a total of $167.6 million proposed for road-related projects across the state, including engineering and design work and construction. TRAC is a bipartisan independent committee that assists ODOT in selecting major projects.
    The Mahoning corridor includes Cherry and Walnut avenues, 12th Street and Mahoning Road.
    The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority would be the recipient of the $15 million. The Mahoning corridor was among three transit projects in the state to make TRAC’s draft funding list for 2011, said Kirt Conrad, SARTA’s executive director.
    “This is a very competitive process to go through for projects,” he said Thursday.
    The overall Mahoning project, which includes involvement from the city, state and the Stark County Area Transportation Study, totals a projected $44 million, including relocating utilities and right-of-way acquisition and economic development-related aspects of the plans, Conrad said.
    Counting the $15 million in state funding, a federal grant and funding secured by the city, about $30 million is in place, Conrad said.
    Conrad thanked ODOT, the city and J.R. Coleman Center for their support and assistance with the project. J.R. Coleman has been overseeing the Mahoning Road Corridor project and also has been involved with the design.
    The J.R. Coleman Center includes the J.R. Coleman Community Renovation Corp., which provides community and economic development assistance to northeast Canton neighborhoods.
    Along with street and transit-related improvements, project supporters believe the effort can help attract new businesses in the corridor and spur economic development.
    PHASED PROJECT
    Work is expected to start next summer on some corridor upgrades, including bike lanes and pedestrian improvements on Cherry and Walnut. Preliminary work on Mahoning next year is expected to include the identification of bus shelter locations, Conrad said.
    The entire project will be phased in over years, with some portions dependent on receiving more funding. Completion could occur in 2014 or 2015, Conrad said.
    Last summer, SARTA received a $2.7 million Bus and Bus Livability grant from the Federal Transit Administration. That will pay for new sidewalks, lighting, bus shelters and landscaping along Mahoning from O’Jays Parkway to Harmont Avenue NE. Another facet of the project is the extension of a bike-pedestrian path in northeast Canton.
    SARTA will seek additional project funding through the Federal Transit Administration, Conrad said.
    FUNDING NOT FINALIZED
    TRAC is expected to vote in March to finalize the draft project list, including the $15 million for the Mahoning project.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Mahoning project scored well because of local dollars committed to the project as well as the expected economic development impact, said Scott Varner, ODOT’s deputy director.
    “Typically, there is not much change to the draft list unless there’s a major concern raised about a particular project,” Varner said.