Youngstown Awards $15.8M Contract for Next Phase of Smart2

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Work should get underway after the winter weather breaks on the second phase of a $31 million downtown road reconstruction project, the city’s deputy director of public works said.

The city’s Board of Control Thursday morning approved a $15.8 million design-build contract with Marucci & Gaffney Excavating Co., Youngstown, for Phase 2 of the Smart2 – Strategic & Sustainable, Medical & Manufacturing, Academic & Arts, Residential & Recreational, Technology & Training – Network project. 

Marucci & Gaffney submitted the lower of the two bids, which were opened last month. 

In 2018, the city and several local partners were awarded a $10.85 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant. In addition to a redesign of Fifth Avenue that includes reducing the number of lanes and several safety and landscaping improvements, upgrades will be made to several neighboring downtown streets and an autonomous shuttle service implemented as part of the project.  

Work began last year for the majority of the work being done on Fifth Avenue, from Federal Street to the Madison Avenue Expressway. 

Under the contract awarded Thursday, Marucci & Gaffney this year will redesign and rebuild Fifth from the expressway to Park Avenue, as well as Park itself. Also this year, the company will complete Phelps Street from Federal Street to the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.

In 2022, Phase 2 will continue with work on Commerce and Front streets, before work on Federal Street and Rayen Avenue is done. 

“That will conclude the roadway work,” said Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works. 

The third phase of the Smart2 Network will involve implementation of an autonomous shuttle service serving downtown, but the road construction needs to be completed before the shuttle can begin operating, he said.  

The city and two other partners in the Department of Transportation grant application – Eastgate Regional Council of Governments and Western Reserve Transit Authority – are doing preliminary work on procurement details for two shuttles to be purchased, said Jim Kinnick, Eastgate’s executive director. 

“Our focus has now moved to Phase 3,” he said, though Eastgate is available to support and assist in contract administration as the project moves forward.

Other partners in the application included Youngstown State University and Mercy Health-Youngstown.  

Phase 1 of the project is half complete and running slightly ahead of schedule because of the relatively mild winter, Shasho said. 

“They’re probably going to have to shut down at some point and resume when the weather breaks,” he said. The phase is scheduled to be completed by July 5. 

Also during the meeting, the board awarded a $49,000 contract for quality control and materials testing services covering the Phase 2 work to ACA Engineering Inc. The company, which has offices in Pittsburgh and Youngstown, received a $20,000 contract to provide similar services on Phase 1 of the Smart2 Network project. 

Pictured: A rendering of the first phase of the Smart2 Network, which focuses on Fifth Avenue.

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