Less than a month after learning the Pearl Road widening project was back on track for next year, the city has already taken the next step toward getting construction started.
City Council on Monday hired O.R. Colan Associates of Florida to start right-of-way acquisition for the project, which from where it narrows near Ellsworth Drive to the city limits at Boston Road.
"Another piece of the process is under way," Ward 4 Councilman Scott Maloney said.
The firm will be paid up to $216,270 for the work.
The stalled project was revived in June when months of lobbying by Mayor Tom Perciak paid off and the Ohio Department of Transportation agreed to give the city $6 million in 2013.
Earlier this year, ODOT, citing a funding crunch, had .
"I can't tell you how many trips to Columbus, how many phone calls, how many meetings this took," Perciak said in early June after learning funding was restored.
The pace of the project was fast from the get-go.
City officials first got word in April 2011 -- while the first section of the widening was still in progress -- that the state had of the Pearl Road widening project $6 million.
A week later, the city hired Euthenics Inc., a Cleveland civil engineering firm, to design the plans for about $900,000.
When ODOT pulled the funding in January, the city never slowed its planning.
"We didn't sit back and cry about it," Perciak said. "We went ahead and finished the engineering and we got the project shovel-ready."
The state money will pay about half the $12 million project. The city plans to contribute $3 million and expects to use additional grants to pay the remaining $3 to $4 million.
Perciak said the widening is crucial to business development on Pearl Road and will provide potential manufacturing firms better access in and out of town when the city develops a new section of Foltz Industrial Park.