Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins credited a conversation nearly three weeks ago with Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the state’s possible and unexpected help fixing the decaying, pothole-plagued Anthony Wayne Trail.
The heavily traveled roadway inside the city needs $30 million in repairs, the mayor said.
“It’s probably going to be a three-season project, because we are talking about from where Detroit Avenue comes in, at that point of the city, clear into downtown, and part of it will be the downtown [I-75] exit,” Mayor Collins said Monday. “The Maumee side of the Trail is not bad because the state covers them ... Although it is a state route, the city is responsible for it because we are a chartered city.”
The Ohio Department of Transportation had previously announced plans to modify the Trail’s interchange with I-75 near downtown as part of freeway reconstruction through Toledo. The result of that, Mayor Collins said, will be “a completely different approach.”
The state’s additional involvement beyond several already-planned projects is not yet known or even set in stone, city and Kasich administration officials said.
The governor was in Toledo on April 9 to announce the kickoff of the state’s 2014 construction season, which includes a three-year, $260 million widening project on I-75 between Perrysburg and Findlay. After the news conference, Mr. Kasich and the mayor spent about 30 minutes speaking in private.
Mayor Collins on Monday recalled asking the governor what the state could do about the condition of the Trail.
“The governor turned to one of his staffers and said ‘make it happen,’ and so it certainly defines that the governor is a person of his word,” Mayor Collins said.
The city’s most recent weekly public-utilities report said: “ODOT has agreed to modify [the] Anthony Wayne Trail project to reconstruct pavement from South Avenue to [Norfolk Southern] Railroad Bridge, north of Western [Avenue]. They have agreed to partner on costs beyond the previously programmed safety project.”
Steve Faulkner, Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman, said the state needs more information on the city’s need.
“We are going to explore options,” Mr. Faulkner said, “but we need details — how much work is there, what will it cost, is it a matter of expanding a project?”
Todd Audet, ODOT’s deputy director for its Bowling Green district office, said the state has planned “safety projects” at South Avenue and the Trail and Western Avenue and the Trail, in addition to work at the railroad bridge between Western and City Park Avenue.
With ODOT already working in the area, Mr. Audet said expanding the work would be possible.
“It doesn’t make sense to do a safety project on the Trail and put asphalt pavement on a failed roadway,” he said. “So right now, we are trying to find the scope of what we can help with on the north end of the Trail.”
Ed Moore, the city’s acting public utilities director, said there is no signed agreement for the state to help with the Trail’s reconstruction.
“They just said they’d look to help us out there,” Mr. Moore said. “One of the worst parts of the Trail is right in the corridor into downtown, and we asked the state about expanding the scope of their projects to help the city out, but we haven’t finalized anything.”
As of Friday, crews had filled 49,900 potholes citywide this year and were on pace to go well beyond Toledo’s annual pothole-repair average of 60,000. Repair costs are expected to balloon to at least $278,000 from the normal $188,000.