ODOT project to widen state Route 45 south of Salem faces delays

SALEM–Work on the state Route 45 intersection improvement project, which includes the widening of state Route 45 (East Pidgeon Road) south of Salem at the South Lincoln Avenue intersection, has been delayed.

The job had an estimated start date of May 1.

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation District 11 Public Information Officer Lauren Borell, the delay has been due to moving public utilities back from the construction area. Persistent rainy weather has caused delays to many infrastructure and road projects in the area.

The stretch of road is the southern portion of the bypass around the city where truck traffic is the heaviest and motorists use state Route 45 to enter Salem from the south.

The city moved its sewer lines back and relocated three manhole covers earlier this year, after ODOT gave it a May 1 deadline to do the work. The lines were built in the state’s right-of-way with permission and with the understanding that the state could move them if the property was needed later.

There are also Columbia Gas lines and Ohio Edison power lines that are affected.

Michael Bair, the ODOT engineer for the project, said the contractor may be on the site around the Fourth of July “in terms of getting some of the utilities moved.”

He said once that occurs, “they’ll really get moving out there.”

Motorists can expect delays at the light.

Plans call for ODOT to widen the intersection by adding a left-turn lane and reconstructing the existing traffic signals for added safety purposes.

Traffic will be maintained at all times with existing traffic signals and intermittent flagging throughout the project.

Many motorists use the intersection at South Lincoln Avenue to enter the city from the south or to go around it and it has been a notorious trouble spot for tractor trailers turning from either East Pidgeon Road to Lincoln or Lincoln to East Pidgeon Road.

Marucci & Gaffney Excavating Co. of Youngstown is the prime contractor for the project with a cost of $944,759 that was bid out in February. The project has an expected completion date of Oct. 31.

ODOT said the overall estimated investment in the project is $1,108,691.