December 19, 2014

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Officials to explain Center Ridge Road progress

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Residents will get the lowdown on the widening of Center Ridge Road during a March 13 informational meeting with officials and engineers from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The open house-style session is 5 to 8 p.m. in the community room of the North Ridgeville Education Center on Mills Creek Lane.

ODOT held its initial public meeting on the widening project two years ago.

“At this point, we’re providing an update to let people know where we’re at as we move forward toward construction,” said Christine Myers, spokeswoman for ODOT District 3 in Ashland.

Residents may talk with ODOT officials, as well as see overviews of the 2.3-mile project and other displays.

Representatives of Engineering Associates, a Wooster-based firm serving as primary consultants to the widening project, will attend the session, as will representatives of Heritage Land Services.

The latter firm is a nationwide company with offices in Westerville whose personnel will talk about acquisition of residential and commercial property that stands in the right-of-way for the planned road widening.

“People will be able to talk one-on-one with engineers and right-of-way representatives about properties that have to be acquired,” Myers said. “Heritage Land Services is the firm we’ve hired to work directly with property owners.”

Myers had no specific figures on the number of local properties needed.

“Many property owners are already aware of that situation,” she said.

Mayor David Gillock is expected to give a brief presentation about 6 p.m.

The project, budgeted at $55.4 million, calls for a 2.3-mile stretch of Center Ridge from Lear-Nagle to Stoney Ridge roads to be widened from three to five lanes.

Long the city’s main east-west traffic artery, the portion of Center Ridge to be widened is among the city’s most congested and accident-heavy, with more than 300 crashes between 2007 and 2009.

It was the high number of traffic crashes that led ODOT officials to give the widening top priority.

The bulk of money for the widening will come from state and federal sources, while the city will put an $8 million bond issue before voters in May to generate the required 12 percent local share.

Discussed and debated for more than 25 years, the project includes funds to widen part of Lear-Nagle Road to three lanes, while expanding intersections at Lorain and Cook roads.

Construction bids are due to go out in June 2015 for the Lear-Nagle work, and October 2016 for the Center Ridge portion, with actual construction expected to begin in 2017.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.