October 24, 2014

Medina
Partly cloudy
39°F

ODOT talks widening of major retail strip in Medina

MEDINA — City officials, business owners and residents got their first chance to see what the proposed $20 million overhaul of the North Court Street-Pearl Road retail strip will look like at a meeting Tuesday hosted by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Several ODOT officials were on hand to answer questions and explain the proposed widening and improvements to about 1.5 miles of the roadway, which also is U.S. Route 42, between Harding Street and Fenn Road.

The meeting was held at Medina Fire Station 1, 300 W. Reagan Parkway.

Officials say the project is needed because of the number of accidents that have occurred along the heavily traveled retail corridor.

The project was conceived almost a decade ago when the safety problems were identified, but it was halted due to a lack of funding.

State Sen. Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, was at the meeting and said Gov. John Kasich’s plan to sell bonds for the Ohio Turnpike provided more than $1 billion that solved many transportation funding problems, including the Route 42 project.

“Projects like this are now happening 10 years sooner than expected,” he said. “I think this will be a huge improvement for Medina.”

ODOT District 3 spokeswoman Christine Myers said that while the project has received funding for research and development, officials still are waiting on a green light from the Transportation Review Advisory Council for construction dollars.

The advisory council oversees all transportation projects larger than $15 million.

She said the money is coming; it’s just a matter of when.

ODOT District 3 Deputy Director Allen C. Biehl said they are planning to begin buying rights-of-way this summer, and the project is slated to begin in 2016.

The project will affect 99 property owners, almost all of them businesses.

“It’s a pretty big project and it’s certainly something that’s going to affect a lot of people,” said Harold Waite, owner of Waite and Son Funeral Home, 765 N. Court St., just south of Harding Street. “I think we’re fortunate on our end, because the project is just beginning and it won’t be as involved as it’s going to get further along.”

Waite said some of his neighbors in the business community are worried about their entrances being closed off or the median making entry difficult for delivery trucks.

Waite said he agrees there’s a lot of traffic on the road, but was unaware how many accidents there were.

While officials did not have specific crash numbers available, ODOT representative Dawn Roxberry said the area sees plenty of side-swipe, left-turn and rear-end crashes because the narrow road can’t handle the volume of traffic.

Plans call for widening the roadway to create two lanes for north- and southbound traffic and left-turn lanes at side roads, according to an ODOT project summary.

The project also will add a raised median within Medina city limits and a center two-way, left-turn lane in the Medina Township section.

There also will be new roadway lighting within the median strip, new traffic signals at eight intersections, a new curb with gutter and storm sewers, a new water main within the city of Medina and new concrete driveway aprons at business entrances.

The project includes a 10-foot-wide path on the west side and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk along the east side.

“This will address those safety issues and create more traffic capacity,” Roxberry said. “This will allow traffic to flow a lot more easily.”

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