Boston Heights-- Boston Heights celebrated the completion of the new Akron Cleveland Road bridge over the Summit Metro Parks Hike and Bike Trail just south of state Route 303 on July 17.

The weather was wet and dreary as everyone met in the Sidelines Grill Parking Lot on Akron Cleveland Road, but the spirits of everyone who worked on the project could not be dampened.

On hand was Boston Heights Mayor Bill Goncy, members of the Ohio Department of Transportation District 4, Summit County Metro Parks officials and other local officials. Goncy, along with members of each team, celebrated the completion of the bridge with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

"This was a project that wouldn't have occurred if we couldn't have all worked together," Goncy said. "I think everybody realized that this was a good way to improve the bike trail and deal with the traffic going across the bridge daily."

Goncy, who was accompanied by his wife and granddaughter during the ceremony, discussed just how bad of a shape the bridge was in before the project took place.

"The concrete on the bridge was deteriorating years ago," Goncy stated. "We had put plywood under it to protect concrete from falling on the people using the bike trail, so we knew it had to be replaced."

The overall project of replacing the bridge took a little over two years to complete, totalling $1.7 million. While that dollar amount covered just the construction of the bridge, an additional $1 million went towards other essentials, such as the engineering aspect. A pipeline also had to be relocated as part of the project, pushing the total dollar amount over $2 million. Eighty percent of the money came from the federal government, while 20 percent of the money came from the local funds.

ODOT public information officer Brent Kovacs was also on hand for the ceremony and spoke about the specifics of the project.

"The area where the bridge is located here on Akron Cleveland Road sees a daily average of about 10,000 vehicles," Kovacs said. 'The bridge was nearly 60 years old when the project began. Many parties were involved and we wanted to make it a safe environment not only for the people passing over the bridge but the people using the Hike and Bike Trail underneath."

Mike Johnson, who is the interim directory-secretary at the Summit Metro Parks, also spoke to the crowd of about 20 people during the event, thanking everyone for their hard work.

"This really was a partnership from start to finish," Johnson said. "Everybody really came together and we all had the same goal in mind during the project. I just really want to thank everyone for their hard work."

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