Claremont Avenue construction continues.
Construction along Claremont Avenue continues on July 19. Credit: Dillon Carr

ASHLAND — The City of Ashland is borrowing $1 million to help pay for unexpected costs associated with the Claremont Avenue project that has slowed traffic on the main thoroughfare since spring. 

City council hired Driven Excavating in February for the big job of repaving Claremont Avenue between Smith and Baney roads. At the time, the project was priced at $5.1 million. 

Once the old pavement was removed, however, Ashland Mayor Matt Miller said crews found challenges that mean the project will likely cost more. There were water-line installation challenges and deeper sections of concrete that needed to be removed. 

“Let’s face it, if you’re replacing 19 (inches) and were planning to replace nine (inches) in many spots, that’s a substantial increase in the cost of that project,” Miller told council.

The loan puts the potential cost of the project to $6.1 million, a repaving proposal that initially the city estimated would cost $3.6 million.

That figure swelled when a lone bidder estimated it at $4.6 million, forcing the city to seek additional bids and reconfigure the scope of the work.

Ashland Miller said council should consider implementing contingency line items as part of bids for future projects, an action the city previously used as protocol.  

“Certainly (we should do that) for projects that are multi-million dollar projects because then if we run into these expensive unforeseen changes, it will be built into our estimates,” Miller said.

The mayor acknowledged the Claremont Avenue resurfacing project is the most expensive he’s undertaken as mayor. 

“But it’s still the right time to do this project,” he said, pointing to all the outside money that has been put toward it. 

The city received a $2 million grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation in 2020. Another $400,000 is coming from a grant program at the Ohio Public Works Commission.

Miller said the city spent $117,000 of its $2.1 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to pay for an engineering study on replacing a water line that runs under Claremont Avenue.

During that study, other issues were found, Miller said. Those discoveries led to the city’s need to pursue a $1 million loan.

“As the water line was installed, they found lots of repairs to the concrete base that were needed. And it was a lot more than expected,” the mayor said.

Lead reporter for Ashland Source who happens to own more bikes than pairs of jeans. His coverage focuses on city and county government, and everything in between. He lives in Mansfield with his wife and...

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