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

ASHLAND — Claremont Avenue drivers will have to wait another week or so before utilizing all four lanes unobstructed by orange cones and barrels. 

Crews from Driven Excavating told city officials they’d finish paving the four-lane thoroughfare by Oct. 31. The contract set Nov. 15 as the date in which “substantial completion” is met. The city entered into the agreement in November 2022. 

Assistant Engineer and Plans Examiner Mike Mowry said Thursday crews were not available to finish sealing water valves in the street until the week of Thanksgiving. 

He said there are roughly 34 water valves that need to be made plumb with the street. That work, Mowry said, could wrap up by next week or the week following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Crews are expected to make sure water valves along Claremont Avenue are plumb in the next week or so.
Crews are expected to make sure water valves along Claremont Avenue are plumb in the next week or so. Credit: Dillon Carr

“That’s weather-dependent, of course,” Mowry said.

He said crews worked late last week to seal 21 manholes along the 1.3-mile stretch of construction.

“It’s been a difficult project,” he said. 

Crews completed the water line replacement in July. Since then, the project ran into “quality control issues that required us to get contractors back for correction,” Mowry said. 

And then there was a week where crews paused work on the portion of road near the Ashland County Fairgrounds to allow for better through-traffic.

Replacing the water line on the north side of the road proved challenging, too, he said. That water line ended up being 1.1 mile in length and had 54 service line connections to be reinstalled.

Crews finished laying a new layer of asphalt on Oct. 26, Mowry said. Since then, crews “demolished, removed and replaced 16,768 square-feet of sidewalk and driveway aprons, 2,347 square-feet of curb and eight ADA-compliant intersection curb ramps,” the assistant engineer said.

“The earlier lulls in activity were frustrating to us but were made necessary because of scheduling following work after corrections were made,” Mowry said.

‘We will be so happy’

Ashland Mayor Matt Miller has called the project that initially the city estimated would cost $3.6 million “a chore.”

That initial estimate swelled when a lone contractor bid the project at $4.6 million, forcing the city to seek additional bids and reconfigure its scope.

Driven Excavating was the lowest bidder at $5,085,679. Council, however, ended up approving a change order to the tune of $1.25 million in September, because of potential costs found along the way. 

The lion’s 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. 

The city has used $117,000 of its $2.1 million federal American Rescue Plan allocation. Officials plan on drawing from its street resurfacing pot of money to pay for the loan that satisfied the $1.25 million change order. 

“We will be so happy to open up Claremont Avenue,” he said. “But our number one concern, once it’s back open, is that people follow the speed limit now that that will be a four-lane speedway with all the new asphalt.”

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...