The Ohio Department of Transportation is pushing forward with a plan to move U.S. Route 30 south and out of downtown East Canton.



The agency announced Monday that it will apply to the state Transportation Review Advisory Council this year and next year for about $10 million for the effort.



The money is needed to pay for engineering, environmental, right of way purchases and utility relocations.



ODOT plans to extend the four-lane highway 2.8 miles from Trump Avenue on the west side of East Canton to the intersection of Route 30 and state Route 44 on the east side of the village. The extension would shift Route 30 traffic south and bypass the village’s downtown.



The design is expected to be completed in 2016.



Getting that preliminary work done will make the project “shovel ready,” ODOT spokesman Steve Faulkner said.



He said it’s “highly likely” that TRAC, a bipartisan group that signs off on money for the state’s biggest transportation projects, will approve the funding.



ODOT added that there’s no money available now to pay for the actual construction, estimated at $80 million.



The agency said it’s working “with local groups to develop a funding package needed to get the project constructed.”



East Canton Mayor Kathleen Almasy is encouraged that the agency is moving forward. She wants to see truck traffic in the village reduced.



“It’s a traffic nightmare with all the gas and oil coming through,” she said.



Route 30 is a divided, four-lane highway from Chicago to Canton. But it’s a two-lane, twisting road between Canton and state Route 11 in Columbiana County.



Local leaders have been arguing for years that the four-lane highway needs to be extended. Officials have estimated that it would cost about $900 million.



ODOT last year rejected a proposal to turn the highway into a toll road as a way to raise money for the project.



Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com.