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Akron's Main Street Corridor Project Pushes Forward

downtown construction
Akron's $31 million Main Street corridor project is on schedule despite the pandemic.

Construction crews working on Akron’s Main Street Corridor project have been busy throughout the pandemic, keeping the city’s $31 million project on schedule.

Akron launched the project in 2018 to bring vibrancy back to its central business district and help boost the city’s declining population.

Phase One is on target to finish up in late summer, said Chris Ludle,  public service director for the city. It extends from Ohio 59 and Perkins Street to Exchange Street.

The city also received a $7.5 million federal grant to replace the State Street Bridge, a major connector between West Akron and downtown near Akron Children’s Hospital. The bridge reconstruction is going strong, Ludle said.

“Late May to early June you’ll see the big beams get set and they’ll bring those into town and they will set those at night so there’s no disruption to traffic,” he said. “Once the beams are set, they’ll pour the bridge deck and then the railing and then the lights can go up.”

The project includes street and sidewalk repairs, on-street parking, dedicated bike lanes, lots of greenspace and a roundabout at Main and Mill Streets, featuring a sculpture of a rubber worker positioned in the center. 

The improvements are visibly striking, Ludle said.

“If you look at the northern most block with the planters going in, you come down at night you see the lights on you can kind of see what it looks like,” he said. “In a couple weeks when we get that roundabout substantially complete, even though the statue’s not going to be there, people are going to say ‘Oh, I see.’ But, once we get that final black asphalt goes down and you see that striping, it’s really going to pop.”

Phase Two of the project is expected to begin next year.

Jennifer Conn joined WKSU in February 2019 as Akron reporter.