Business owners want access to their establishments to be maintained.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- A $3.8 million project aimed at alleviating congestion on U.S. Route 224 is expected to get under way late next year.
The public was invited Tuesday to Center Middle School to view the project to upgrade the road from just west of Parkside Drive to just west of Interstate 680. About 30 people attended the open house.
The Ohio Department of Transportation District 4 has identified a preferred improvement plan based on cost and environmental factors, said Jennifer Richmond, an ODOT spokeswoman.
The plan includes 12-foot-wide right-turn lanes from the Shops at Boardman Park's west drive to Tiffany Boulevard.
It also involves widening to provide dual eastbound left-turn lanes at South Avenue. Traffic signal lamps and controllers no longer in use would be replaced, and the two traffic signal systems would be combined to reduce traffic delays.
"A lot of people have just been explaining their frustrations with the congestion," Richmond said.
Some business owners also expressed concerns that access to their establishments be maintained during the project, she said.
At least two lanes of traffic will be open in each direction during peak traffic hours throughout the project except at South Avenue. The center turn lane on U.S. 224 also will remain open in peak hours.
Right-lane closures may occur in off-peak hours.
At South Avenue, one 10-foot lane in each direction and a 10-foot center lane will be maintained on all four approaches during construction.
The comments made at Tuesday's meeting and in writing will be compiled and posted on ODOT's Web site. They will be considered before the department decides whether to move ahead with the preferred plan.
Construction is expected to start in late 2006 and take about a year.