East siders lament lengthy bridge construction project

Rt 62/7 ramp closed sign. Sept. 1, 2015
A reminder that the southbound ramp from Himrod Avenue to the Himrod Expressway is closed. Sept. 1, 2015

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On the east side of Youngstown, residents are observing new bridges over I-680 at Route 224 and Western Reserve Road in Boardman. They’re wondering why the Himrod Avenue Expressway bridge project is taking so much longer.

“The one thing about this bridge (Himrod) is that it’s a half-mile long,” says Justin Chesnic with ODOT. “It’s one of the largest bridges in ODOT District 4.” Chesnic says the project is on schedule.

He says, “They’re grooving the bridge pavement now. They’ll have to stripe it and seal it and do a couple of other things. They’ve got about three weeks of work out there still and then we’re going to flip to the eastbound side (of the bridge).”

Work started in May of last year and is expected to be done by October of next year. Chesnic says this is a $20 million project compared to $6.5 million for the work at 224 and 11 in Canfield and $9 million for the Western Reserve Road bridge over 680.

Councilwoman Annie Gillam is aware that residents are anxious to have the project be done. And she has some concerns of her own. “The road is so narrow on the side going to the east side and also, it’s dark. Really dark at night, especially when there’s no moon out.”

When work moves to the other side of the bridge, Chesnic says the ramp that’s closed from Himrod Avenue to the southbound expressway will re-open. But two ramps will close: the ramps from Himrod and South Avenue to the northbound expressway.

Gillam says, “People are just going to have to be patient, at least it’s getting done. We’re getting a lot of bridge done in Youngstown and they’ll be happy when it’s done, but you know, getting there is the problem.”

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