Last year, Cuyahoga Falls and Stow city officials asked the Ohio Department of Transportation to call off the . This past December, ODOT ruled that the plan was moving forward.
On Wednesday night at , the proposed next steps were laid out by Arcadis design engineer Shane Gault.
Gault said the project was given the green light due to a lack of safety and an abundance of traffic congestion, and offered facts, figures, graphs and matrices to back up his assertions.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Graham Road is ill-equipped to handle the 20,000-30,000 cars and trucks that motor up and down the corridor each day, he said.
- The high wait times and long delays at traffic lights cause unneeded congestion.
- The traffic lights themselves aren’t networked together and cannot properly circulate the flow of traffic.
- The turn lanes are too short and the driving lanes too narrow.
- 40 percent of accidents are a result of rear-end crashes, which indicates congestion.
- A recent study found that out of 283 accidents on Graham Road, 76 were injury or fatality related.
- Driveways are poorly configured and create blind spots, and the pavement is deteriorating in certain places.
To fix these problems, Arcadis put together a study comprised of options that could be tailored to the sections of road where construction will take place, he said.
Under these various options, the road would be widened by six feet, turn lanes would be extended and traffic lights would be reconstructed and networked to cut down on congestion.
The construction that would affect the , located on the north side of Graham Road, once again came under scrutiny.
According to business owner Susan Krieger Kraus, the planned six-foot widening to the north side of Graham Road would cut out about half of the Krieger’s parking lot and constrict traffic movement.
“We’ve received over 7,700 signatures from Krieger customers and supporters who strongly oppose (the widening),” said Kraus during the comments section of the meeting.
Residents from both communities also stood and sided with Krieger’s, including Cuyahoga Falls Ward 5 City Councilwoman Diana Colavecchio.
Colavecchio said she’s followed the program since its inception, is pleased with the cooperation among the two cities and ODOT, but disagreed with the proposed widening between East Bath Road and Wyoga Lake Road, saying it was unnecessary.
City leaders and ODOT said they will take the concerns under advisement, and Kraus said she hopes that a resolution can be reached soon to avoid a potential legal battle.
ODOT puts the total construction costs at $4.3 million. Federal funds will take care of all but $700,000. The remainder will be split between Cuyahoga Falls and Stow.
According to the proposed project plans, temporary lane closures will be required, but one lane in each direction will remain open at all times. Access to all residences and businesses will also be maintained.
The construction is scheduled to begin by next winter.