NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The city moved closer to the long-anticipated widening of Center Ridge Road with City Council’s approval Monday night of legislation to set millage for a bond issue to cover the city’s share of the project.
Council authorized a resolution to have the county auditor’s office determine the millage that will be needed to generate $8 million in bonds to cover the city’s portion of the projected $55.4 million project.
Mayor David Gillock said the measure represents a major step in a 20-year chain of events to widen a 2.3-mile section of the city’s major east-west thoroughfare.
“We’re at a critical point in the process,” Gillock said, noting that required engineering design work is nearing completion, and letters detailing needed land acquisition are about to be mailed to property owners along both sides of the road.
Based on estimates, a bond issue totaling .86 mills will be needed to generate the $8 million to cover the city’s 12 percent share of costs, which includes an estimated $12.5 million for improvements to a portion of Lear-Nagle Road.
Gillock said the bond issue is projected to cost owners of a home valued at $100,000 approximately $30.10 a year in additional taxes.
The bond issue is expected to appear on the May 6 ballot.
The city’s actual share for the road improvements is set closer to $6.6 million, but the $8 million includes funds for contingencies in the event the city’s portion of costs runs higher.
“This authorizes us to borrow up to $8 million,” Gillock said.
Bonds are expected to be paid over 20 years, with the city’s debt service projected to be about $600,000, according to City Auditor Chris Costin.
The major portion of costs to widen Center Ridge between Stoney Ridge and Lear-Nagle roads from three to five lanes will come from state and federal money.
The stretch is regarded as one of the city’s most-congested and accident-prone traffic zones with more than 300 accidents occurring along the stretch between 2007 and 2009.
The high number of accidents led Ohio Department of Transportation officials to designate the widening a top priority.
The Lear-Nagle work would widen it to three lanes from Center Ridge to Lorain roads, with intersections expanded at Lorain and Cook roads to make them safer.
Construction bids are expected to go out on the Lear-Nagle project in June 2015 while those for the Center Ridge widening are now set to go out in October 2016, with work set to begin in 2017.