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Girard mayor irked at ODOT delay of Churchill Road paving

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

By Sarah Lehr


Mayor James Melfi is expressing his displeasure at the Ohio Department of Transportation’s decision to delay paving state Route 304, also known as Church Hill Road.

Melfi said he had believed that the project would be completed this year, since bids came in this July. The project’s low bid of $356.682 from Americon Industrial Services LLC of Canfield came in under the estimated cost of $492,760. The job, which includes paving, installing catch basins and building handicap-accessible sidewalks, is now slated for spring 2017, the mayor said.

“The reason for my disappointment starts with the fact that not one ODOT official called” to inform the city of the delay, Melfi said. “Someone should have called us and said, ‘Hey, we’ve been out there. It looks pretty bad. It’s pretty severe. What’s your opinion?’”

ODOT could not be reached to comment late Monday.

Mefli met with representatives at the ODOT District 4 office in Akron earlier this month. He said the head of construction told him the agency could try to add one layer of asphalt before winter. That measure would make the road smoother in the short term. “The word ‘try’ was rather offensive and I told him so, which he took offense to, but I don’t really care, because I’m the one who has to live with the road and our citizens and our traveling public,” Melfi said. “I made it quite clear to him of our city’s disappointment in ODOT. I made it also quite clear to him that it seems that the city of Girard ... really [has] experienced the brunt of all the closures and all the construction.”

City council plans to send a letter to ODOT to echo the mayor’s sentiments.

Another ODOT project involving repairs to a bridge over Squaw Creek will also be delayed because bids came in 40 percent over the estimated $396,000 cost, Melfi said. ODOT is legally obligated to rebid projects that come in more that 10 percent over projections. The mayor said ODOT is willing to pay the extra cost for that project.

“ODOT giveth and they taketh away,” he said.

In other business, council voted to authorize the mayor to apply for a grant for the installation of signs and buoys to warn people of a low head dam on the Mahoning River. The city hopes to receive about $10,000 from the Navigational Aids Grant Program through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft.

The signs and buoys relate to the city’s plans to install a canoe/kayak launch on the banks of the river in 2017. That project is made possible by about $8,500 from the city for tests and about $75,000 from ODNR.

Additionally, council approved the purchase of a dump trunk with a snow plow from FYDA Freightliner of Youngstown for no more than $83,600.