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Downtown Akron Road Construction Returns Today

At Lock 3, the 'back-in-only' spots on Main Street have been replaced with parallel parking. Over the next two Saturdays, the city will put on farmer's markets featuring food, music, and arts & crafts.
Kabir Bhatia
This summer, much of Main Street in Akron reopened after several years of road work. The next phase of construction begins today.

The next phase of downtown Akron road construction begins today, as crews get to work on some infrastructure which hasn’t been replaced in nearly a century.

Some excavation and utility work under sidewalks started last fall as part of the $14 million project. Now, crews move to Main Street itself, which Mayor Dan Horrigan says will be closed for the next five months.

“That's the middle section, right where the Federal Building is right to Market Street. So that will be closed until May. And this is the flip side, or the north side, to that second downtown redo, so to speak. [It] will eventually get to Martin Luther King Blvd. right there at Howard Street where the Matthews Hotel is.”

Horrigan says he’s pleased with how the project on the southern portion of Main Street came out, but he understands that people want things to move quickly.

“When you don't dig up something -- and replace a lot of that infrastructure -- for about 100 years, you really don't know what you're going to find sometimes. And so I think they did an excellent job of getting through and getting that open. And when you look at the centerpiece of that -- with the rubber worker statue -- it's just going to be an awesome promenade, I think, to our central core city. And I think what cities look like have a big determination of how people feel about them.”

Improvements include more turning lanes and LED lighting, as well as an extension of the bike lanes. The city is offering free two-hour parking vouchers to patrons of local businesses who might be impacted – something which became an issue during the previous phase of construction.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.