Massive Cooper Foster paving project goes out for bid

Additional North Main intersection project in the works

By Laurie Hamame and Jason Hawk

Contractors are being sought for the widening and reconstruction of Cooper Foster Park Road on the Amherst-Lorain border.

Commissioners voted Aug. 29 to advertise for bids to handle the project, which is expected to start in 2019 and take one to two years to complete.

The county estimates the job will cost $4.9 million for a stretch approximately 1.05 miles long.

The two-lane roadway from Rt. 58 to Oberlin Avenue is jointly owned, with Lorain responsible for the westbound lane and Amherst responsible for the eastbound lane.

“It’s a very old project,” said county administrator James Cordes. Plans to improve Cooper Foster go back to 2005.

Funding was within reach, but bickering between Amherst and Lorain caused some problems, he said.

There were arguments about which city had money available and about how the road should be reconstructed, “so I’m glad we’re past all that,” Cordes said.

Exactly how much money has been pumped into engineering work in the past 13 years is hard to pin down, but it’s at least $520,000, according to Amherst mayor Mark Costilow.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency has agreed to give $2 million in grants split between the two cities and the Lorain County Transportation Improvement District has committed $250,000.

“I’m really happy this is finally going somewhere after all these years,” said commissioner Ted Kalo.

Costilow has said he’s doing everything possible to limit the construction schedule to one year to ease the impact on nearby businesses. He also wants as much of the work as possible to be done at night.

In the meantime, Amherst city council is considering spending an additional $1 million to $1.5 million to improve Cooper Foster at North Main Street.

“This is a project in long-standing need,” Costilow told the finance committee Sept. 4.

The project will include adding a turn lane, signage, curb stabilization, and paving.

The venture is separate from the Amherst-Lorain paving venture east of Rt. 58. The city expects to ask the Ohio Public Works Commission for between $500,000 and $750,000 — some of that will be grants and some will be zero percent interest loans.

Laurie Hamame and Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews and @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Additional North Main intersection project in the works

By Laurie Hamame and Jason Hawk