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ODOT plan targets 224



Published: Fri, January 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A special surface will be used on the slippery stretch.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- Upgrades proposed for a small portion of U.S. Route 224 are designed to make it safer and more convenient.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is proposing to resurface about 2.5 miles from Southern Boulevard to Riverside Drive. The project is slated to begin in late 2003, but ODOT is seeking public input before work is started.

There are also plans to add a right turning lane at the area of The Shops at Boardman Park.

Jennifer Richmond, ODOT spokeswoman, said the road will be resurfaced with a skid-resistant material that is more textured than normal paving materials. The material is necessary because of a high number of crashes in wet conditions on that stretch.

A look at data: Richmond said data collected from 1995 through 1997 shows that 47 percent of the accidents in that area of Route 224 happened in wet conditions. Accidents on other district roads in wet weather average 21 percent.

The more-than-double average wet-weather accident rate, said Richmond, tipped off ODOT officials to a potential problem on Route 224. After ODOT investigations involving measurements of stopping distances when the road is wet, officials decided to lay the new, more costly, material.

She said this particular stretch of Route 224 becomes more slick than the rest of the road in wet weather because there are a high number of cars, causing the pavement to wear faster. She said the problem is exacerbated by the amount of braking on the pavement.

Turning lane: The turn lane, said Richmond, is needed because drivers are continually using the 10 foot shoulder of the road as a turn lane to enter the shopping plaza. She said adding the lane is a safety issue.

"If somebody is driving illegally on the shoulder and someone tries to make a legal turn from the right lane there could be an accident," she said.

The new turn lane would be the standard width of 12 feet.

Richmond said that one lane of traffic will remain open in each direction for the duration of the project.

Any comments about the project are to be directed to Noel Mehlo Jr., environmental specialist, at (800) 603-1054 ext. 286 by Jan. 28.

jgoodwin@vindy.com




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