David Knox and Nick Glunt | The Gazette
MEDINA — The monster that ate Medina’s downtown streets last year is back.
Thankfully, he should be a little less hungry and a little easier for motorists to live with this year.
The giant milling machine that rips off the top layer of asphalt in preparation for repaving started moving down Weymouth Road (state Route 3) on Monday, reducing traffic to a single lane south of Granger Road.
On Tuesday, the beast turned down East Liberty Street and headed toward Public Square.
Beginning today, traffic on more than two blocks of North Court Street (U.S. Route 42), from East North Street to just north of Homestead Street, also will be reduced to one lane.
The $1.3 million project, scheduled for completion in October, will repave all of Route 3 and the northern portion of Route 42 within the city limits, said Joyce Miller, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Last year, a similar $1.9 million ODOT project that repaved all of state Route 18 and state Route 57 inside the city resulted in a flood of angry complaints from frustrated motorists.
Miller said steps have been taken to ease congestion, including paying for police to help ensure one lane of traffic is maintained at all times — something that wasn’t done last year until after complaints poured in.
“Our district deputy director Alan Beal is very customer focused,” Miller said. “They met with the mayor and city engineer to work out the details of how to handle it.”
Miller said the prime contractor, Chagrin Valley Paving, and subcontractors won’t begin working until 9 a.m. and will try to shut down by 9 p.m. each day.
“We knew we would impact traffic, so we knew to start after the morning rush,” she said. “We’re also trying to keep the length of work zones not so long.”
Miller said there should be fewer problems because “we also don’t have the other conflicting traffic projects that we had last year.”
Last summer, at the same time the roads were being repaved, city workers replaced the century-old water lines along the south and east sides of Public Square. Adding to the congestion, a bridge on East Smith Road near River Styx Road in Montville Township was closed for more than two months for reconstruction.
This year’s project also is somewhat smaller — a total of about 11.5 “lane miles,” compared to 14.7 lane miles last summer.
Both projects are part of the Urban Paving Program through the Federal Highway Administration, which provides money annually for state and federal road maintenance and is administered by ODOT.
The cost is split 80 percent to 20 percent between the state and city.
Medina Service Director Nino agreed with Miller that there should be less traffic gridlock this year, saying the use of police officers to control traffic make a big difference.
“We learned a big lesson last year when we had the construction teams doing the traffic control,” he said. “People tend to listen to police in the work zones a lot better than a civilian flagger.”