Port Authority approves road improvement

EAST LIVERPOOL – Final approval has been given by the Columbiana County Port Authority for a road improvement project to accommodate a major expansion at its Wellsville industrial park.

The port authority voted at Friday’s special meeting to award the contract for the Clark Avenue rehabilitation project to Parella-Pannunzio Inc. for $526,000. The Youngstown construction firm submitted the lowest of the four bids received by port authority CEO Tracy Drake.

The 2,200-foot section of Clark Avenue to be rehabilitated will serve the Hilcorp Energy/Marathon Oil project at the industrial park located along the Ohio River. Hilcorp affiliate Harvest Pipeline is involved in a joint venture to develop 3.6 acres of industrial park property purchased from the port authority by Marathon Oil.

The site is in the process of being developed into a transfer station for trucks bringing natural gas to Marathon’s storage tanks located immediately adjacent to port authority property. The oil and gas will be transported from the transfer station to Marathon tanks via pipeline to be installed.

The street also leads to 22 acres of industrial park property being leased by the port authority to Arrowhead Utica Pipelines, another Hilcorp affiliate, which is in the process of building a shale-gas transfer facility at the site.

The section of Clark Avenue has previously been described as “one big old pothole” by Drake, and it will be ground down and repaved.

Drake said the road rehabilitation is to be finished by Nov. 1, which is about when work is scheduled to be completed on the truck transfer station and pipeline. About 200 trucks are expected per day initially, increasing to 400.

“The game plan is to be operational by then,” he said. “We’re trying to meet their (Hilcorp’s) ambitious time frame. They don’t let any grass grow under their feet.”

The road project will allow truck traffic bound for the site to bypass the village of Wellsville and provide direct access from state Route 7. Drake said the south end of Clark Avenue abuts vacant land in Jefferson County, opening that property up to possible development.

To the pay for the project, the port authority obtained a combination of state and federal grants totaling $650,000.