Cotton Corners, where S.R. 59 and S.R. 14 come together on the east side of Ravenna, has been more "crash corners" in recent years. But the Ohio Department of Transportation is unveiling plans Tuesday for changes that will make the intersection safer and quicker for motorists.
Planned changes to the intersection of S.R. 59, S.R. 14 and Newton Falls Road will be shown at a public open house set Tuesday at Reed Memorial Library in Ravenna. A detailed design plan will be displayed from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Haymaker-Jenkins Room of the library at 167 E. Main St. Representatives from ODOT and ARCADIS , the project design consultant, will be on hand to discuss the project with the general public.
ODOT plans to close Newton Falls Road at Woodbine Road and make other changes to improve safety. A new connector road on a new alignment will be built to connect Newton Falls Road to S.R. 59 by extending Peck Road south to S.R. 59 between the Portage County Engineer's headquarters and Carter Lumber. A left turn lane would be added between S.R. 59 and the Peck Road extension.
Gladys Street would become an "entrance only" off S.R. 59. And S.R. 14 southbound would have a longer left turning lane to go east on S.R. 59.
One item that is not included is a roundabout at the intersection of Newton Falls and Peck roads. A roundabout was listed as a possibility when ODOT unveiled the renovation project in 2008 but has been dropped. The total project is estimated to cost about $5 million. A contract is to be let in spring 2015 with construction to begin that summer. Completion is set for the fall of 2016.
According to ODOT, one lane of traffic will be maintained eastbound on S.R. 59 between S.R. 14 and S.R. 5 while the eastbound lane will be closed.
ODOT spokesman Brent Kovacs said the intersection has had 102 traffic crashes in the five years ending in 2010.
"They were mostly rear-end, sideswipe," incidents, Kovacs said. The goal of the redesign is "increase safety and promote shorter light cycle times" to get motorists through the intersection safely and quickly, he said.
Portage County Engineer Michael Marozzi said the project will be a welcome improvement.
"It's going for the betterment of safety and I'm all for it," Marozzi said.
ODOT has tried for years to balance the traffic lights and flow, but the smaller number of vehicles using Newton Falls Road "messes up the time frames," he said. "It has caused a substantial number of accidents over the years. Eliminating that leg is really a good thing, in my opinion."
Ravenna Mayor Joe Bica said several city officials will be attending the open house.
"We are interested in finding out what the overall long-term plans are going to be," Bica said. He said the city and township have been discussing a Joint Economic Development District and the Cotton Corners area is seen as having potential for growth.
Comments from the public may be submitted during the open house or by mail until Feb. 1, to Mr. Anthony M. Urankar, District 4 deputy director, ODOT, Attn.: Mr. James Kinnick, district planning & engineering administrator, 2088 South Arlington Road, Akron OH 44306.