July 23, 2016

Mostly sunny

I-76 work coming to a close in summer

WADSWORTH — Motorists should have an easier time driving on Interstate 76 by mid-summer, officials said.

The Ohio Department of Transportation announced this week that a much-delayed renovation project along Interstate 76 will be completed by July.

The project began in April 2012 and ODOT crews will start up again Tuesday to finish it after delays pushed it beyond the expected 2013 completion date.

“As the project went on, we found some areas along the shoulders that needed more work than was planned for,” said ODOT Region 3 spokeswoman Christine Myers. “So work had to be added and those issues were addressed, and that’s what extended the life of the project.”

The $17.8 million project — funded largely by federal dollars but administered by ODOT — is intended to remove and replace seven inches of old asphalt down to the concrete base.

Myers said the project mainly was to address structural problems in the middle layer of asphalt that created divots in the driving surface.
The project also installed a new drainage system and extended two entry ramps.

The ramp from state Route 57 to I-76 eastbound had a long crash history, Myers said, and so was extended for a longer acceleration lane.

The ramp from state Route 94 to I-76 eastbound was widened to accommodate a future project along Route 94.

This summer’s work will include the final resurfacing and lane markings, and installation of safety cables along the east- and westbound lanes between Route 57 and Interstate 71.

Myers said the project went beyond its original budget, but ODOT will not have a final cost on the project until well after it is finished.

A news release from the city of Wadsworth said the work will be done mostly at night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The first phase of the work will be to complete the median strip and cable rail westbound. That will be followed by the eastbound work. The actual paving work is scheduled for May.

The news release said drivers should expect lane closures along the interstate during the repaving phase, but no local road closures are expected.

Shelly & Sands Inc. of Akron is ODOT’s contractor for the project and is responsible for traffic direction. Crews will use message boards, signs and advance notifications to inform drivers of all closures.

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