Paving season kicks off

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 9, 2023

Drivers in Ironton will be seeing a lot of orange cones this summer as 46 blocks of the city roads will be paved.

On Tuesday afternoon, the mayor and the city council had a ceremonial groundbreaking where they shoveled ground-up roadway.

Mayor Sam Cramblit was happy to see the beginning of the town’s largest paving projects in decades kick off.

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“I’m very excited to start. It is finally happening,” he said. “We have put in years worth of work to come up with the studies, the design and the bidding and then having to wait for the asphalt plants to open.”

Councilman Mike Pierce said it was time to see improvements in Ironton.

“It is time to make it look like an absolutely great, small town, which it is,” he said. “I think this street project is just the beginning. There are several things on tap, from the roundabouts to the riverfront to Third Street. I think in two years our town will look and feel a lot different.”

Councilman Bob Cleary said he it was wonderful to see the road improvements begin.

“It is something that has been needed for a long time,” he said. “Everybody complains about potholes and cracks in the street and I really like how they are doing this, repaving the worst streets first.”

Councilman Chris Perry said he was “estatic.”

“I think it is fantastic,” he said. “The people of Ironton put their trust in the elected officials and we are finally able to get something done and help save a couple tires and axles along the way.”

Councilman Chris Haney said the paving was a long time coming and he has heard the complaints about the city’s roadways since he first ran for council in 20019.

“We have had talks about this since I was first on council,” he said. “This is a major, major project we are undertaking. A lot of people were involved to get this done and it is just good to see the milling begin and I am happy to see it get underway.”

Cramblit said phase 1 is to start on the north end of the town and head south.

“This phase 1 project came in at around $800,500 and will cover about 46-47 blocks of paving,” he said, adding the paving schedule will be modified since Delaware Street is part of the project and crews will be waiting until Ironton High School’s spring break to pave that section as to not create congestion for students being dropped off in the mornings and picked up in the afternoons.

The cost of the paving each block varies, Cramblit said. It depends on the material and if the roadway is being milled to the grade level and then paved or is just being paved.

“This is the first of our many paving projects we have going on this year,” the mayor said, adding there will be about $9.5 million in paving that will go under construction this year and around $30 million in infrastructure projects this summer. “So there is a lot of work going on. Obviously, with progress going on, there is a bit of inconvenience but it will be very nice when it is all said and done.”

It’s going to be a busy summer for Mike Pemberton, the Ironton Street Department superintendent, and his crews who will be working with Rick Eplion Paving Inc. on the road work.

“Lot of things going on here in Ironton with the paving projects, but we are going to do our best,” he said. “This is going to be out of the routine for drivers, but if people avoid the areas where they see traffic cones or flashing lights, they guys can get it done a lot quicker and safer

He explained that some streets will be milled down and then new asphalt laid down.

He said it takes about an hour or so to do one block.

“On a good day, we can probably do about eight blocks,” Pemberton said.

Cramblit said that there aren’t any phase 1 paving projects that will be done around the 155th Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade on May 29, although the construction of the construction of the two roundabouts at the State Route 93/U.S. 52 interchanges may cause some congestion. He has said that the Ironton Police will be on hand to direct traffic in and out of town.

The second phase of the paving projects will be going out for bid soon.

“The sooner the better,” he said. “I will have an update on that around the end of May.”