Officials are making a second plea to have S.R. 8 designated as Interstate 380 after the Ohio Department of Transportation denied their first request.
Several months ago the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study and area officials asked the Ohio Department of Transportation to help them seek an interstate designation from the Federal Highway Administration for an 18-mile portion of S.R. 8 between Interstate 76/77 in Akron and Interstate 271 in Macedonia.
In a recent letter, six mayors, two county officials and AMATS Director Jason Segedy asked ODOT Director Jerry Wray to reconsider the designation to Interstate 380. The letter cites the road's high volume of traffic -- more than 120,000 motorists per day -- its connectivity between Akron and Cleveland and its functional importance as one of Ohio's most important freeway facilities.
Those making the request included Akron Mayor Donald Plusquellic, Village of Boston Heights Mayor William Goncy, Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters, Hudson Mayor William Currin, Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta and Stow Mayor Sara Drew, along with the Summit County Executive Russell Pry and Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker.
Segedy said ODOT officials in March 2014 told him the change would be too expensive with significant costs to replace signs, additional maintenance personnel, facilities and materials.
ODOT Press Secretary Steve Faulkner did not return phone calls by press time.
The April 10 letter asks ODOT to consider the long-term benefits to the region, including "improved wayfinding to major attractions, economic benefits in terms of job and business attraction; and potential future funding opportunities."
The requests included options to reduce costs such as local governments continuing to bear the cost of routine maintenance in the short-term and work with ODOT toward an "equitable sharing of costs."
The local communities would explore creative and innovative methods to secure local and/or federal funding for replacing the existing state Route 8 highway signage with Interstate 380 designation.
Finally the letter requested a meeting with ODOT in Columbus to discuss the proposal and possible collaboration.
Would,nt it have to be 377 or an odd number since itruns north/south?
After dragging their feet for years in getting Route 8 upgraded from a standard divided highway with those deplorable mile long backups with those red lights and intersections to a limited-access freeway, the least that ODOT could do is to have Route 8 upgraded to interstate standards.
The re-designation and investment in this freeway is critical for economic development, safety and seamless travel. This is no time for ODOT to be tight-fisted and myopic about anything right now. Route 8 connects two major areas in Ohio and anything less than Interstate status is unacceptable.
I do not miss the days in the 1990s and 2000s when I lived in Cuyahoga Falls and had to use Route 8 to commute to Valley View and Twinsburg. Those were a nightmare for all of us commuters that had to use that road in those days. The Route 8 upgrade was done 20 years too late. Our politcal leaders need to push ODOT hard to make sure this can is not kicked down the road another 20 years.