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

ASHLAND — More spending on Claremont Avenue is on the horizon as the self-imposed deadline of Oct. 31 quickly approaches. 

Ashland City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a $1.25 million change order to the project that started in spring. 

The move comes a couple months after the city got a $1 million loan. The loan was to help pay for potential costs that might come up as work continued on the four-lane thoroughfare. 

Now, the loan will help pay for the change order, said Larry Paxton, the city’s finance director. 

The city will pay for the loan by withdrawing funds from its street resurfacing pot of money and from its allocation of American Rescue Plan Act monies, Paxton said. 

Ashland already spent $117,000 of its $2.1 million ARPA money to pay for an engineering study that investigated the condition of a water line that runs under Claremont Avenue. 

The water line, it turns out, runs on the northern side of the road — which is where crews have worked since spring. The study revealed the water line, which feeds much of the commercial and residential properties along the Claremont Avenue corridor, needed to be replaced. 

Ashland Mayor Matt Miller expects work on the southern side of Claremont Avenue to be speedy, because that side of the road does not have a water line that needs to be replaced.

Miller also said the southern side of Claremont Avenue will not receive foundational work because of the high costs associated with it.

‘What a chore’

The overall expense of the project was $5,085,679 when Ashland entered into an agreement with Driven Excavating in November 2022. 

The change order pushes the price tag to a little north of $6.3 million. 

The city advertised for bids on the project in March 2022. The estimate, back then, was $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.

When the city advertised for bids again, the project’s estimate climbed to $5.4 million because it included foundational repairs, some curb replacements, drainage issue work, the installation of some sidewalks and the water line replacement.

“Believe me, there are many days and nights that I go home asking myself ‘should we have even messed with that Claremont Avenue? Should we have just put down new asphalt and forgot about it?’” the mayor said. 

He said he doesn’t regret the project, because it was all work that needed to be done. 

“These are all good projects, it’s just — wow — what a chore to replace a street foundation. Especially when it’s four-lane wide,” he said. 

The lion share of the project is covered by state grants. Ashland received a $2 million grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation in 2020. Another $400,000 came from a grant program at the Ohio Public Works Commission. 

Oct. 31

Miller reiterated Tuesday the construction company’s commitment to finish the road by Oct. 31.

The vow comes even with a pause on work during the Ashland County Fair.

Driven Excavating painted temporary pavement markings and opened up all four lanes for the week of the fair.

“They’re still doing work, just on the other end of the road,” Miller said. “But they have said they will be done by October 31.”

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...