Township trustees want a safe way for people to get to the complex.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HUBBARD -- Township trustees have been forced to back away, for now, from the construction of a sidewalk along state Routes 7/62 near Interstate 80.
"I have to come up with another place to put it," Trustee Fred Hanley said of the walkway-bike path from the Hubbard city limits to just north of the I-80 interchange.
Last fall, trustees initiated a plan to build the path on the east side of Route 7/62, extending the walkway along North Main Street in the city to the Truck World complex just north of the interchange.
Hanley said the township hoped to use $60,000 in Traffic Enhancement Program funds administered by the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments to pay for the project.
Background: The sidewalk is needed, he explained, because young people ride their bikes on the side of the road to fast-food restaurants north of the interchange and to play electronic games in the Truck World game room.
While initial drawings and general overview of the project were completed for the half-mile path, Hanley explained, trustees began the selection process for an engineer.
In early November, the township contacted the Ohio Department of Transportation District 4 office in Ravenna to get its approval for the project.
ODOT denied use of its right-of-way along Route 7/62 because of safety issues, Jennifer Richmond, District 4 spokeswoman, said.
"It was a safety issue and we couldn't allow that," Richmond said.
There are two problems, she said: Route 7/62 is a limited-access road with freewaylike traffic; and bikers would have to cross a traffic ramp to get past I-80.
Hanley said ODOT suggested that he find an alternative route.
The original proposal, Hanley said, was designed on the east side of the road to take advantage of the new bridges over Yankee Run.
The bridges completed last year are wider than those they replaced and have an additional turning lane.
On hold: An alternative route for the path hasn't been found, so the township will be unable to make the March deadline to apply to Eastgate COG for funding.
In selecting another route, Hanley said, it can't be put too far from Route 7/62. If its too far away, pedestrians and bikers won't use it because it would lengthen the trip, he said.