A contract has been awarded for a pavement replacement project on Route 8 between Graham Road and 303 that will start this fall and continue for three and a half years.

Kenmore Construction Co. Inc., earned the contract with a bid of $58.65 million, according to Brent Kovacs, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation. Kenmore was the lowest bidder for a project that will be "100 percent state funded," according to Kovacs.

Kenmore was one of five companies that bid on the construction work, said Kovacs, who added a pre-construction meeting on the asphalt project will take place in about a month to a month and a half. Once that meeting occurs, Kovacs said he will have information on the official start date of the project.

The project will replace almost 6 miles of pavement on Route 8 between Graham Road and 303.

The scheduled completion date is July 2022. Throughout the duration of the project, at least two lanes of traffic will be maintained during peak travel times in each direction along this part of Route 8, according to ODOT officials. The project will run through Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Hudson and Boston Heights.

Mike Simpkins, project manager for ODOT’s District 4, said shoulder reconstruction pavement repairs will start this fall, and the plan is to maintain at least three lanes of traffic in each direction during peak travel periods while that work occurs. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained each way when the median wall, inside shoulders and inside driving lane are reconstructed in spring, summer and fall of 2019.

Bridge replacement coming in 2020

Further south on Route 8, ODOT is finalizing details for its plan to replace the 1,500-foot-long bridge that spans the Little Cuyahoga River Valley and links Akron with its northern suburbs.

Construction of the $130 million project is expected to start in late 2020 and continue through 2024.

The six-lane bridge — built in 1953 — carries more than 116,000 vehicles per day.

Nearby parks and trails used by pedestrians and bicyclists also will be impacted by the project.

Brent Kovacs, public information officer with ODOT, said that the department still plans to maintain three lanes of traffic in each direction during construction by building a new bridge in stages along the current one, as previously announced.

To accomplish that goal, ODOT will acquire property near the bridge site for access roads, Kovacs said.

Property acquisition will begin later this year or early next year, Kovacs said.

One of the access roads will require two six-month closures of the Summit County Metro Parks Freedom Trail, which runs under the state Route 8 bridge as it stretches from Kent to Akron.

ODOT officials are continuing to seek comments from the public about the bridge reconstruction project.

Comments can be made through the end of August by contacting ODOT environmental specialist Robert Lang at 330-786-4975 or Robert.Lang@dot.ohio.gov.

The Akron Beacon Journal contributed to this story.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.