July 25, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Route 18 widening moving forward

State highway officials are moving on plans to ease rush-hour congestion by completing the widening of state Route 18 from Interstate 71 west to the Medina city limits.

State Route 18 westbound now narrows to one lane just east of River Styx Road.

“It’s no surprise that this area has continued to develop and there’s more increase in heavy traffic between the city of Medina and Interstate 71,” Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman Joyce Miller said.

“There’s a lot of congestion in that area and some traffic safety concerns, so those are all factors in really looking at this corridor.”

Medina city and county officials met with ODOT officials earlier this month at the Rustic Hills Country Club to discuss improvement plans, slated to begin in 2016.

In addition to widening state Route 18, other proposed improvements include installing a two turning lanes at Foote Road and a 10-foot-wide multipurpose path along the highway, between Foote and River Styx roads, to give pedestrians access to nearby park areas.

Another option discussed would be eliminating traffic signals at Foote and River Styx roads by converting the two intersections into roundabouts.

Roundabouts have become increasingly popular and two are scheduled to be built in Medina County: at Columbia Road (state Route 252) and Spieth Road, in York Township, in 2015; and state Route 94 and Granger Road, in Granger Township, in 2016.

But Medina County Commissioner Stephen D. Hambley questioned whether roundabouts would work for the Foote and River Styx roads intersections.

Hambley said roundabouts are appropriate for intersections with less traffic, such as the two planned for Medina County, and noted that ODOT’s engineers are not recommending them for state Route 18 project.

He said roundabouts also are much more expense than conventional traffic signals because property must be purchased to enlarge the intersections.

“They’re not a preferred alternative,” Hambley said. “They’re there for people to consider.”

Miller said a survey taken at the meeting with the local officials will help determine the specifics of the improvements for the project.

Another public meeting will be held for business owners and residents who would be affected by the project.

Once plans are finalized, the project will move to the design phase. At that point, Miller said ODOT could begin acquiring right-of-ways for the project in late 2015, with construction to begin in spring 2016.

Miller said construction would take about 18 months.

“We will try to keep two lanes open at all times and access to all businesses,” she said. “There may be some temporary short road closures on side streets.”

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