Plans for a highway to circle Warren go back decades.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- If planning officials have their way, 30 years from now the city will be almost circled by the limited-access Warren Outerbelt, with new and improved roads angling off to major commercial and industrial areas.
The object: to offer an easy way for commuters to get from their suburban homes to jobs in other suburbs and to reduce traffic on U.S. Route 422 through Warren.
The hope is that industries will flourish off interchanges to the four-lane highways, said Gary Newbrough, director of the Trumbull County Planning Commission.
Access roads: The commission's long-range plan, for example, includes creating access roads from the outerbelt to Kent State University Trumbull Campus and a proposed research park nearby.
These projects are likely to be completed in the next 10 years, Newbrough said.
The rest of the plan is even more tentative: extending the outerbelt to wrap around Warren from the south; building a four-lane divided highway from the outerbelt toward General Motors' Lordstown facilities and widening state Route 45 to four lanes, from the outerbelt north to state Route 305.
The proposed highways would also create easy access from the south to areas the planning commission thinks will be the next hotbeds of development along Route 422, west of Warren, and state Route 5 between Warren and Cortland.
Extending the outerbelt alone has been estimated to cost $41 million, said James Wells, director of Eastgate Council of Government's transportation program.
"It is going to be difficult to get the money, but we will look at it," Wells said.
Input needed: Public hearings and comment periods must be conducted before any of the projects go forward, he said.
Plans for the outerbelt to encircle the city go back at least 30 years.
Current plans reflect some of the development that has taken place in the meantime.
The circle would be bent west of the city, to avoid the Trumbull Correctional Institution on state Route 5.
There is also a break in the ring southeast of Warren, where the proposed highway ends at state Route 169 before reaching Eastwood Mall.
The government could not afford to buy land there for a highway, Newbrough said.
The circle would pick up a few blocks east at the North Road connector. The city of Warren and the Trumbull County engineer have proposed widening North Road to take traffic from state Route 82 south to Route 422, but plans for the project are still under review.
That highway would go from 422 to state Route 82.