A project 20 years in the making, widening of a more-than 1 mile stretch of Cooper Foster Park Road on the border of Lorain and Amherst, is expected to cause traffic delays for much of this year, according to the Lorain County Engineer’s Office.
The project involves widening and reconstructing Cooper Foster Park Road between state Route 58 to the west and Oberlin Avenue to the east. Only eastbound traffic will be allowed on the road after March 1, with posted detours, though delays are expected through Oct. 31.
Underground Utilities of Monroeville has the contract for the project, and the final bid came to more than $3.8 million, Assistant Lorain County Engineer Bob Klaiber said.
Of that, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency contributed $2 million in federal transportation funds, and the Lorain County Transportation Improvement District pitched in another $250,000, Klaiber said.
The remaining $1.6 million will be split by the cities of Lorain and Amherst, he said.
“This was programmed for federal funding almost 20 years ago, and it’s finally coming to fruition,” Klaiber said.
Heading east from state Route 58, Cooper Foster Park Road is four lanes, shrinking to two after crossing Williamsburg Drive just past the Amherst Plaza shopping center. The project will widen the two-lane portions of the road to three lanes, Klaiber said.
“Even though there is enough traffic there, there was not enough to go to a four-lane road,” he said. “You have to justify the amount of traffic.”
Underground Utilities has done other projects in the city of Lorain, including recently rebuilding Oberlin Avenue, Klaiber said. It plans is to start construction Monday, maintaining two lanes until March 1, when only eastbound traffic will be maintained through the expected completion date of Oct. 31, he said.
Under the contract, paving must be completed by Oct. 31, Klaiber added.
The Lorain County Engineer’s Office is holding a public hearing on the project for residents and businesses in the affected area 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 23 at Lorain High School, 2600 Ashland Ave.
“When we have projects like this that impact a large number of businesses and residents, we like to have these public meetings to give a local contact person” in case of emergencies or issues that arise during construction, and so residents and businesses alike “don’t get the run-around,” Klaiber said.