By JORDYN GRZELEWSKI
Construction on U.S. Route 224 at its intersections with Interstate 680 by the Ohio Department of Transportation advanced with the opening of a T-intersection, with a traffic light at 680 southbound exits to 224 eastbound and westbound.
“That was one of the main things we were trying to do with this project, was try to make that intersection safer” with the addition of the T-intersection and traffic light, said Brent Kovacs, ODOT District 4 spokesman.
Before the installation of the traffic light at the intersection, there were two separate exits for 224 eastbound and westbound, and motorists had to merge onto 224. Motorists now turn left onto 224 eastbound and right onto 224 westbound when they reach the light.
In addition to the T-intersection, the construction project includes the widening of the bridge over I-680 and changes to the exit ramps in that area.
The ramp from 224 eastbound to 680 northbound has been relocated about 700 feet to the east, according to Kovacs. Traffic from 680 southbound to 224 has been redirected to the newly constructed southbound exit ramp, which is where the traffic light was installed. The bridge is being widened to include an additional lane in each direction.
Traffic on both sides of the bridge is down to one lane.
The project began in July 2013 to deal with safety issues.
“That is really the goal of this project, to increase the safety of that intersection, in addition to helping alleviate congestion in that area,” Kovacs said.
Some businesses in the area, however, expressed frustration with the construction project that has caused significant traffic delays for the past year.
“Business is slower than it usually is, especially on the weekends,” said Rose Rovnak, a manager at Classic Bakery at 7135 Tiffany Blvd.
Rovnak said the construction started to affect business several months ago when the bridge over 680 was shut down to a single lane in each direction.
“Everybody’s summer around here is going to be a little slower, I guess,” Rovnak said.
The entire construction project is scheduled to be complete in October of this year, according to Kovacs.
Rovnak said business also has been affected by other construction projects such as on Mathews and Sheridan roads in Boardman, the intersection of which closed last month for the construction of a roundabout. The intersection is expected to remain closed until the beginning of the upcoming school year.