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Check on way for city paving project

The check, as they say, is in the mail.

Sunday, October 24, 1999

The check, as they say, is in the mail.

The Federal Highway Administration announced it has approved the $534,000 on-system roads paving project that will give Ironton streets a major facelift, Mayor Bob Cleary said.

In the largest paving project in Ironton’s history, several miles of roads will sport a fresh coat of pavement just as soon as the city can advertise and then accept bids, Cleary said.

"We have authorization from the Federal Highway Administration to advertise the project for bids," Cleary said. "The process takes about one month, so it will depend upon both the weather and how long the asphalt plants remain open."

If the plants do not close early, Cleary said he hopes to begin the project this year. If the weather cools to the point of endangering the quality of the project, then the roads will be paved next year as soon as the weather is warm enough, he said.

"If we begin the project this year and are unable to finish because of the weather or because the asphalt plants close, then we will pave the balance at the beginning of next year," Cleary said. "We will be on the top of the paving list either way."

The grant, part of the Surface Transportation Program (STP) is available for the network of roads and highways that are designated as either emergency routes or alternative routes by the federal government. These routes are put in use if the major transportation routes are closed, city engineer Joe McCallister said.

"We have a map with the system roads shown on it, and these are set in stone," McCallister said. "We can’t put a new street on it at random because these are the routes that are approved by the Federal Highway Administration."

In a few areas, however, the streets which have money scheduled for paving will only be repaired because of residential requests, Cleary said.

"The residents living along some portions of Fifth Street where there is brick instead of pavement petitioned the city and asked us to use the federal money not for paving, but for repairing the existing bricked surface," Cleary said. "After investigating whether or not this was acceptable within the parameters of the grant, we were able to agree to fixing the brick rather than paving those residents’ portion of the streets."

Streets included in the federal on-system roads are:

– All of Second Street from the city limits at Hanging Rock to Jefferson Street.

– Sixth Street from Park Avenue to Railroad Street.

– Madison Street from Second Street to Campbell Avenue.

– Campbell Avenue from Madison Street to Adams Street.

– Adams Street from Campbell Avenue to Second Street.

– Spruce Street from Third Street to Ninth Street.

– Ninth Street from Spruce Street to Maple Street.

– Fifth Street from Spruce Street to McGovney Street with the exception of two blocks from Vine to Montgomery streets, which will be repaired and left bricked.

– Lorain Street from Third Street to Sixth Street.

– Third Street from the city limits at Coal Grove to the rail crossing near AlliedSignal.

"It’s really exciting for the city, and we’ve had a lot of cooperation with the Ohio Department of Transportation, KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission and also at the federal level," Cleary said. "Several organizations worked with the city on this project and made it happen much faster than most of these types of projects do to try and help us stay within the time frame of this year."

Of the $534,000 total project cost, the Federal Highway Administration will provide $434,000 –  80 percent of construction costs only, McCallister said.

"We are providing all the engineering in house and the remainder of the money is coming from the Empowerment Zone," he said. "Without the Empowerment Zone, there would be no project."