Deadline extended for study



The early work initially was expected to be done late last month.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The deadline for a first step in a study to alleviate traffic congestion along one of the Mahoning Valley's busiest roads has been extended to May.
The $1 million study by URS Consultants of Akron, funded by Ohio Department of Transportation and Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, started in November 2004. Initially the first leg of the work, which is to identify broad ideas for improvements to problems on U.S. Route 224, was to be finished late last month.
That deadline has been extended to May although it doesn't involve any additional costs. Identification of a detailed plan to address the problems will come much later.
The construction cost depends on the solution developed.
"It's going a little bit slower than we'd like it to, but better to get it extended now and get it done right than to try to rush it through," said Bill Barlow, program manager at Eastgate.
Barlow said he plans another round of meetings of the three stakeholder groups -- residents, businesses and government -- after which a public meeting will be set.
Area of study
Kathy Miller, township trustee who is a member of the residents' stakeholder group, isn't concerned about the extension.
"It's been hard to get everything organized," she said. "Everything in general takes longer than you think it's going to."
The study area focuses on the six-mile stretch between Interstate 680 and state Route 11.
Study goals include reducing congestion, improving safety, preserving the corridor's economic viability, reducing vehicle use within the corridor, educating drivers and making the corridor environmentally friendly.
Data collected for the study found nearly 1,900 crashes in that six-mile stretch between 2002 and 2004, most of which were rear-end crashes. That same data also gave nine intersections along the corridor at or near a failing grade.
The grades are based on information such as the average seconds of delay, the amount of traffic, the number of lanes and left- and right-lane turn restrictions.

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