July 25, 2016

Partly sunny

Detour confuses truck drivers, causes mishap

SEVILLE — Despite detour signs along main highways, semitrailers are getting stuck in a neighborhood along state Route 3 and residents are not happy.

On July 8, the Ohio Department of Transportation closed the bridge on Route 3 south of the Interstate 76 entrance ramps for 60 days for repairs.

Tory Lyon, of 56 W. Main St., said tractor-trailers are causing problems nightly, using residents’ yards and driveways to turn around.

On the first night of the project, Lyon said one trucker was so confused that he simply moved the barricades and drove over the dilapidated bridge anyway. The bridge approach is now closed.

“It’s just a hot mess down here. There’s no organization,” she said.

Village Street Commissioner John Soczak said Medina County placed a lighted message board at U.S. Route 224 and there’s another sign at state Route 604 in Wayne County.

ODOT has placed detour signs on Route 224 and state Route 57 to guide drivers around the bridge and back to Route 3.

Local drivers who know the area are taking High Street and Greenwich Road, which is not a posted detour, he said.

But Soczak and village Police Chief Don Burson said the problem traffic isn’t coming south from I-76, because that approach offers escape routes via business parking lots. It’s the northbound approach creating the havoc.

“The biggest problem has been traffic northbound from Wayne County, because the only state route available for a detour is 604, and that’s 4½ miles south,” Burson said.

ODOT must use only state routes for detours.

“As they’re approaching, they see the closure sign but don’t have time to make the course correction before they miss their turn. I think the problem is that the signs aren’t specific enough as to where the road closure is.”

Burson said the bridge closes ¾-mile south of the I-76 entrance ramps and drivers don’t see where the closure is until they reach it. By then, it’s too late.

ODOT District 3 spokeswoman Christine Myers said project engineers are aware of the issue.

“We are looking into the problem and will make a determination on the best way to handle it,” she said.

Myers and Burson both said problems like this tend to work themselves out as drivers become aware of the road closure and the detours.

Burson and Soczak said they will do everything they can to help residents and drivers in the interim, including possibly posting more signs farther south, near Creston.

As for neighborhood concerns, Burson said residents should bring problems to him when they occur.

“If trucks are causing damage, I’d like to know about it right away,” he said. “We’ll help the drivers that are stuck, but the ones that are doing damage, that’s a different story. They have no right to damage anyone’s property.

“There are ways to get out of there, but the driver has to be patient.”

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.