(Cleveland) - Preliminary work is expected to begin on the Opportunity Corridor project late this fall, with the effort starting in earnest in the spring of 2015.

The Federal Highway Administration gave final environmental approval for construction on the new roadway in May.

Speaking at the Kenneth Johnson Recreation Center, ODOT Director Jerry Wray explained, the 3.5-mile, $331 million roadway will connect Interstate 490 and University Circle.

Wray said it will be a multi-lane boulevard linking Cleveland's arts, cultural, and technology center with Lorain County and Western Cuyahoga County, as well as the Greater Akron area.

The corridor will begin at the end I-490, and run from East 55th Street to East 105th Street.

Wray maintained, the project will spark the vast development of under-utilized property, and could create thousands of new permanent and temporary jobs. He said at least 20% of the project workforce must be residents of the Opportunity Corridor area.

Director Jerry Wray discusses the project with Mayor Frank Jackson.

ODOT is promising to provide money for job training so neighborhood residents will be able to work on the project.

There are also minority set asides for African-American owned companies, Hispanic owned firms, Asia and Native American businesses.

The project has also committed $500,000 for expansion of the Kenneth Johnson Recreation Center.

Mayor Frank Jackson said they are working to make sure the surrounding community benefits from the project and not just motorists using the roadway.

The first phase of the project could be completed by 2016 with the entire Opportunity Corridor to be done by 2018.

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(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)