Ohio Street, under $11 million redesign, reopens

Ohio Street, the former industrial road being redesigned with $11 million as an attractive link between Canalside and the Outer Harbor, has reopened to traffic.

In addition, progress is also being made along its route.

Cars returned this week to all of Ohio Street, the 1.4-mile link between Michigan Avenue and Fuhrmann Boulevard. The Ohio Street Bridge, which has been under reconstruction, also is now open to traffic. The work has included new sewers, underground wiring and other hidden infrastucture, along with road, sidewalk and lighting improvements.

A topcoat of asphalt for the road, more concrete poured for the sidewalks, landscaping, bicycle lanes, additional street lamps and other infrastructure updates won’t be done until the spring, with the project expected to be completed in June, according to Tom Dee, president of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.

“We consider having access to cars on Ohio Street again a success,” Dee said.

A spokesman for Mayor Byron W. Brown’s administration said the mayor would talk about Ohio Street’s progress on Monday.

Along the route, though, a foundation has been poured at RiverFest Park for a building that will provide public restrooms, exhibition space for historic photographs about Ohio Street and room for banquets. The $2 million project is being developed by the Valley Community Association, with the opening planned for winter 2015.

“It will be a pretty building, with architectural details reflective of the New York Central Freight House that used to be on the street,” said Peg Overdorf, the group’s executive director.

Overdorf said she was concerned Ohio Street’s redesign makes the street too narrow and not provide parking. But she said she was also glad that it will add to a continuous walk between Erie Basin Marina and Mutual Riverfront Park, located in the Old First Ward.

email: msommer@buffnews.com

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