LIMA — The city of Lima is on the short list to receive a third infusion of money for the east side grade separation of East Elm Street, according to the city’s Public Works Department.
Public Works Director Howard Elstro announced Wednesday that the project, which would construct an underpass underneath the Indiana and Ohio Railroad crossing at East Elm Street, is slated to receive $4 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Transportation Review Advisory Council as part of the council’s $52 million 2017-2020 major new construction draft list. An additional $2.5 million is slated to be approved from ODOT’s safety program funds for the roundabout project on the East Elm Street and Bellefontaine and Calumet avenues intersection.
“We’ve been chasing funds since 1999,” Elstro said. “We’ve been looking to both state and federal sources.”
The project in its entirety is estimated to cost $20 million, with $15 million of that needed for construction, according to Elstro. The project had previously received allocations of $104,000 in the planning stage as well as $3 million for right-of-way acquisitions. The project also had a combined local funding match of $5 million from the city, Lima Allen County Regional Planning, St. Rita’s Health Partners and Lima Memorial Health Systems.
“With the announcement of the $2.5 million plus the $4 million, we have just a gap of $2.9 million to find in state or federal resources, and construction can then begin in 2018,” Elstro said.
Elstro also emphasized that the project list is still in the draft stage, and public support would go a long way to ensuring this project remains on that list.
“We encourage proponents of this project, and there are many, to contact James Gates at the Ohio Department of Transportation. That public comment period will be open until Jan. 13, and they will then reconvene and publish a finalized list.”
To comment on the TRAC list, email Gates at firstname.lastname@example.org or email the TRAC committee at TRAC@dot.state.oh.us. Those wishing to send letters can address them to ODOT TRAC Committee, attention Jim Gates, 1980 W. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43223.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.