June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

Work on road to allow easy access to elementary school

Emergency vehicles soon will have faster access to Ralph E. Waite Elementary School in Montville Township.

After being blocked off for four years, Cobblestone Park Drive is expected to be open to traffic by the end of the month.

Work is under way to open access to Ralph E. Waite Elementary School from state Route 3 at Cobblestone Park Drive in Montville Township. The intersection should be open by the end of September. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Cobblestone Park Drive had been blocked by concrete barriers since 2009, when the Ohio Department of Transportation deemed the intersection unsafe unless turning lanes were added and state Route 3 was widened. Ralph E. Waite Elementary School opened that year.

Montville Police Chief Terry Grice said the change will improve access to the elementary school and Cobblestone Park for police, the Fire Department and ambulances.

“It’s going to definitely enhance our response times by reducing our need to go through the neighborhood development,” Grice said.

The change also will lessen traffic congestion through the neighborhood. To get to the elementary school, a parent has to drive through the Cobblestone Park development from Sharon Copley or Poe roads.

Jon Burkhart, director of business services for Medina Schools, also is cheering the street’s opening.

“It’s going to be a very welcoming feature for that building,” he said. “Our school buses will be able to directly access the building off Route 3.”
Township officials are planning a ribbon-cutting for when the street opens.

“The completion date should be on or about Sept. 20,” township Trustee Jeff Brandon said. Work is under way at the intersection, where new turning lanes have been added along state Route 3.

Brandon said trustees initially expected commercial property owners to pay for the turning lanes after they secured retail development. But, as a result of the recession, no retail or development along that portion of the highway materialized.

“We thought that the township would continue to grow at the fast pace that it was,” Brandon said. “We thought that the commercial property owners would open up the intersection due to commercial development.”

Trustees came up with a plan last year to fund the $625,000 project. The township received an interest-free loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission to fund 80 percent of the project. The money will be paid back over 20 years using property tax assessments from the commercial property owners. The other 20 percent of the funding is coming from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Fechko Excavating, of Medina, is the contractor for the work.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.