Plans to change Cotton Corners east of Ravenna from a five-way to a four-way intersection drew some 50 people to an open house Tuesday night.
The Ohio Department of Transportation held the event at Reed Memorial Library to explain its plans for traffic improvements and to hear comments and concerns from interested parties.
Plans are to cut off Newton Falls Road at Woodbine Street and extend Peck Road from Newton Falls Road south to S.R. 59. Gladys Street will be made one-way (northbound) at the existing intersection with S.R. 14.
Mike Simpkins, project manager for ODOT, said the changes will improve the congestion and safety of the intersection, which has a high number of crashes.
The Cotton Corners intersection ranked 31st on the 2002 Highway Safety Program top 200 list. Most of the crashes in the study were rear-end cashes due to congestion, along with left-turn crashes caused by drivers failing to yield to oncoming traffic.
Simpkins also said ODOT has been working with Allen Aircraft, located on Woodbine at Newton Falls Road, and other commercial stakeholders to make sure they have needed truck access. Simpkins said the changes should eliminate a cut-through problem at a drive-thru business between Newton Falls Road and S.R. 59. Delivery trucks cut through the parking lot to get across to Woodbine and businesses there, he said.
The project is an all-ODOT job, but Portage County Engineer Michael Marozzi's headquarters are nearby on Newton Falls Road.
"It will be a great improvement," Marozzi said. He said eliminating the Newton Falls Road connection will help. Marozzi and others at Tuesday's forum said they've seen drivers line up side-by-side at the light there. The road is only one lane each way, but drivers spread out across the paved area.
S.R. 14 will be widened from the S.R. 5 interchange north to Highland Avenue and S.R. 59 westbound will be widened for a new left-turn lane at the intersection. Traffic signals and storm sewers will be upgraded.
ODOT said no residences or commercial buildings are expected to be relocated for the project which will begin construction in 2015.
The Peck Road connector will be the first thing built followed by improvements on S.R. 59, which will be done in two phases. Westbound traffic will be detoured to S.R. 5 to S.R. 14 while eastbound traffic will be maintained. Two-lane, two-way traffic will be maintained during work on S.R. 14.
Arnold and Janet Claburn were concerned that the new Peck Road connector would put headlights directly into their home on S.R. 59, or that a wreck could end up in their front yard.
ODOT changed the angle of the road to direct headlights between homes. Arnold Claburn also said he was concerned about water running off the road.
"Right now it's coming into my yard and into my basement," he said.
ODOT said it plans to cut down the road height to improve sight lines and replace the storm drain system on the south side of S.R. 59, which should improve runoff.
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