YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s taken a long time to get to this point, but paving work in downtown Youngstown is expected to begin next week on Front Street from west to east.

For months, the city’s main east-west thoroughfares have been tied up by construction with “road closed” and detour signs all around. Public Works Director Chuck Shasho said paving along Front Street could be finished by the end of next week, with crews working on other streets as well.

“Yeah, 90% will be done. We will be paving Commerce Street from Market to South Avenue,” Shasho said.

Shasho said the plan calls for work to continue, in one form or another, even as the weather turns colder.

“It depends on what kind of winter you have. They will go in spurts, starting doing work where they can as the weather allows it,” he said.

Anyone who has driven through downtown has noticed roads such as Front Street are not as wide as they were before. Shasho said it’s a process called “road editing.” It’s where traffic lanes are more narrow to make room for wider sidewalks and bicycle paths.

Shasho admits that although the concept is becoming more popular around the country, it creates additional hardships for motorists.

“It’s very difficult to maintain traffic as you progress because you’re getting less road to work with,” Shasho said.

Still, the project remains largely on schedule.

“By the end of 2023, we anticipate having all the physical construction complete,” Shasho said.

However, the entire project, including an autonomous transit system connecting downtown with the northside, won’t be finished until 2024.