Construction season begins


Orange barrel season, Ohio’s fifth season that unofficially begins between April’s showers and May’s flowers, is upon us.

The Ohio Department of Transportation’s construction season this year will include more than 900 construction projects totaling $2.5 billion, of which a chunk of $44.7 million will be spent on road and bridge projects in Trumbull County with about $26.9 million happening now.

Planned for Mahoning County is $63.3 million, most of which, $48.9 million, will be spent on active projects.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich formally kicked off the construction season in Toledo on Wednesday and representatives with ODOT’s District 4, which includes Trumbull and Mahoning counties, did the same Thursday morning in Youngstown.

Among the larger local future projects is one to resurface parts of state Routes 5, 7 and 87 in Greene, Gustavus, Hartford and Kinsman. The $4.5 million project that should be done in December also includes repairs to six bridges.

In Warren, about $5.4 million will be spent to repave and install a two-way left turn lane on U.S. Route 422 between Southern Boulevard N.W. and Linda Drive N.W. The project also includes putting in a left turn lane at Coit Road N.W. and new storm system, curb, sidewalks and traffic signals. The project should be complete by June 2015.

Some of the projects happening now are the $4.9 million replacement of the Olive Street bridge in Niles and the $13.2 million replacement of two bridges on Interstate 80 over Mount Everett Road in Hubbard.

Closed for about five years because of decay and structural concerns, the Olive Street bridge that spans the Mahoning River connects Niles and McDonald.

It’s projected to take 18 months to finish the work, which includes realigning the approaches to the bridge and filling in some of the space below it. Doing so will cut down the actual span to 370 feet from 933 feet.

The I-80 project in Hubbard also includes realignment of Mount Everett Road. Crews now are preparing the foundation for the bridges. The project should wrap in October 2016.

In Mesopotamia, $4.9 million will be spent to continue improvements to a portion of state Route 534. Planned this year for the project, which began in February 2013, is resurfacing the road between state Route 87 and near the Ashtabula County line. Other work includes lane widening to accommodate horse drawn vehicles and widening two bridges. The planned completion date is July 2015.

Many of the projects in Ohio are on tap because of Kasich’s decision to raise about $1.5 billion for state highway projects through Ohio Turnpike bonds.

Officials backing the bond idea have said those projects would have been delayed for years without the turnpike bonds. But some lawmakers have voiced concern that the plan will lead to higher tolls on the turnpike.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.