Repairs to two heavily trafficked bridges over Interstate 680 — and a redesigned exit ramp to U.S. Route 224 — are close to fruition.
Ohio Department of Transportation District 4 plans to replace the Route 224 bridge over I-680 and alter the exit ramp from I-680 southbound to Route 224 west, the Boardman/Canfield exit, to have two lanes and a traffic light.
The project cost is estimated at $5.7 million and is set to be bid in March with construction beginning this summer, said Brent Kovacs, ODOT spokesman.
The traffic light will be solely for westbound Route 224 traffic and vehicles coming off the ramp from I-680 south to Route 224 west, said Ken Sympson, project manager for Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.
The light will eliminate the free-flow merging that is currently in place that causes motorists to switch lanes abruptly to continue on Route 224 and avoid entering the right turning lane for Tiffany Boulevard, Sympson added.
A 5-foot shoulder also will be added to the bridge.
“This is something that should make travel so much easier,” said Boardman Trustee Chairman Larry Moliterno.
On Thursday, Eastgate’s Technical Advisory Board approved a project to reconstruct the Western Reserve Road bridge over I-680. The project needs final approval from Eastgate’s general policy board before it moves ahead.
The $5.4 million project is set to begin construction in fiscal year 2014 and is being funded by the state, according to Eastgate records.
The project was one of nine in the Transportation Improvement Program that the technical board sent to the general board for approval Thursday.
“This isn’t a wish list,” said Sympson, meaning the funding is already allocated.