U.S. Route 30 has been gradually rebuilt over decades into a third east-west, four-lane highway across most of Ohio -- except for a 35-mile stretch on the eastern end. State and federal funding for that ran out years ago.
Since then, local officials in area have had no luck getting Washington or Columbus to come up with even seed money for a project restart. But, they keep trying. And they continue tweaking plans for the construction if it ever happens.
Those last 35-miles of winding two-lane road are in Stark, Carroll and Columbiana Counties, who are working together on trying to get the highway upgrade done.
Stark County Commissioner Richard Regula says they just applied for a $54 million federal infrastructure funding, or INFRA, grant.
Columbiana County Engineer Bert Dawson says they’re also taking steps to be ready if the money comes through. That includes hiring MS Consultants to see if previous environmental impact studies are still good, especially where plans have been modified.
“We’re waiting for INFRA, and we’re moving ahead with MS to see about any red flags at the east end.”
Dawson says once there is funding, it will still take five to 10 years to complete the highway upgrade.
He also says, even if the money never comes for the whole final phase, there are critical parts of the U.S. 30 upgrade in the three counties that will have to be done.
The point where four-lane U.S 30 goes to two lanes in Stark County creates both traffic-flow and safety problems and is one such priority for work.
“That’s just too much needed for it not to happen. And it’s just a matter of finding the money or some combination of money until that happens. The plans are pretty well done.”