OLEAN — Work to restore East State Street took another step forward Tuesday night, but officials won’t expect to break ground on the $1.9 million project for at least another year.

The Common Council OK’d Mayor Bill Aiello to execute documents related to a $663,000 grant through the Transportation Alternatives Program for a shared-use path along East State Street — a key component of the Walkable Olean Phase 3 project.

Officials hope the project will restore the street, improve crossings at intersections and mid-block between Lincoln Park and city hall and create a shared-use sidewalk on the north side of the street from Barry Street to the Allegheny River Valley Trail near the East State Street bridge.

The project is expected to be covered almost entirely by state and federal dollars — it received a $1.2 million allocation from the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative in 2018. In April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $663,000 for the project through TAP, funded by the Federal Highway Administration and competitively passed through the state Department of Transportation for projects that provide public benefit, air quality improvements and innovation.

TAP funds require a 25% match, said Bob Ring, director of public works, and the grant will be primarily used for design work.

“We’re in the middle of the consulting phase,” Ring told the council, adding the project will soon go to the design phase. “It’s now on a 16- to 18-month design phase.”

At that point, the city can finish up the fleshed-out design, offer alternative designs and, once approved, begin bidding out the project and start construction.

The project is one of three planned under the 2011 Walkable Olean umbrella, aimed at restoring the downtown infrastructure. Phase 1 included the $10 million North Union Street overhaul with new water and wastewater infrastructure, new streets and five roundabouts. Phase 2 aims to reconstruct Main Street between North Union and Front streets, improving pedestrian access between the Boardmanville neighborhood and downtown.

Alderman Linda Witte, D-Ward 1, asked about the status of Phase 2, which was first proposed in 2015 and is part of her ward.

Ring said the project will begin next year.

“Next summer — we have about six months on the design phase left,” he said, adding the city is working with the state Department of Environmental Conservation on permitting for the work near Olean Creek.

The city hosted an open house on the project in December. At that time, the project included milling and resurfacing the street, improving the existing Front-Main intersection for crossing and traffic flow, a 10-foot shared-use sidewalk and some improvements to Front Street.

That project is expected to cost roughly $1.55 million. Funding includes a $400,000 grant from Empire State Development and $541,913 from a separate TAP. In addition, city officials plan to use $250,000 from the city’s annual allocation from the state Consolidated Street and Highway Improvement Program, as well as around $357,000 in local funds.

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at bclark@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)

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