HOWLAND Panel: Lower Rte. 82 speed
The speed limit on state Route 82 is now 55 mph.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The Trumbull County Planning Commission wants speed limits to be reduced on state Route 82 in Howland, at least until permanent safety improvements can be made.
The commission also wants the Ohio Department of Transportation to bring back caution lights, which until 1997 had warned motorists on Route 82 that the traffic signal at Howland-Wilson Road was about to turn red.
"It just seems every three or four months, we have a person dying out there," said county Commissioner Joseph Angelo Jr., who sits on the planning commission.
The most recent casualty was Vickie L. Dietrich, 50, of Poland, who died Aug. 26 when her vehicle was struck from behind while she was waiting in an eastbound lane of state Route 82 for the Howland-Wilson light to change. At least 10 others were injured in the six-vehicle pileup.
The planning commission unanimously passed a resolution Monday urging ODOT to drop the speed limit and post additional signs. The resolution also asked the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments to expedite its U.S. Route 422 corridor study, which is expected to address traffic problems in the entire area.
That study, which is expected to propose brick-and-mortar solutions for the traffic congestion, is about a year away from completion, officials say.
The speed limit on Route 82 in Howland is now 55 mph, said Alan Knapp, planning commission assistant director.
Westbound cars entering Route 82 off West Market Street often exceed that limit as they merge with traffic from the bypass and try to scoot over to exit at state Route 46, he explained.
The exit was the site of a fatal rear-end collision earlier this year.
"What people have to understand is that it is a residential neighborhood," said commission member John Sliwinski, noting that houses are being constructed along the busy road. "That is the problem."
ODOT will consider the request when it is received, said spokeswoman Jennifer Richmond.
Laws dealing with speed limits are complex, she said, but in some cases the state agency can move quickly.
ODOT will likely base long-term plans for the area on the forthcoming Route 422 corridor study, she added.
In the meantime, the agency is undertaking several smaller projects, including widening left turn lanes from Route 82 onto Howland-Wilson Road.
ODOT also is in the process of adding turn lanes at the intersection of Route 82 and Route 46, ranked by the Governer's Office of Traffic Safety as the second worst in the county.
Second left turn lanes are being added for northbound traffic on Route 46 turning west onto Route 82, and on the Route 82 westbound exit ramp for cars turning onto Route 46 south.
Much of Route 46 between Cortland and Niles, including the Route 82 intersection, is being repaved as part of a $1.7 million ODOT project, Richmond said.