Commuters and other motorists along Massillon Road in Green will begin the New Year’s cruise on an upgraded section that is free of construction zones and detours.
The city recently completed the first phase of its $ 15 million effort to improve traffic along the busy thoroughfare, and project manager HR Gray delivered ahead of schedule.
Now comes the hard part.
By the spring, phase two of the project will become evident as utility works begin on the city’s busiest stretch of roadway. By summer, construction is expected to begin.
Two blocks and 24,000 vehicles per day.
Mayor Gerard Neugebauer and city engineer Paul Pickett recognize that the upcoming construction will be a headache for many drivers. But they say the improvements will position the city for increased traffic flows – more than 40,000 vehicles per day by 2035 – for decades to come and minimize the impact on businesses along the construction zone.
“You’re going to know you’re under construction for a year and a half,” Neugebauer said in a Dec. 15 interview at the contractor’s command post on Massillon Road.
The good news is that access to businesses along the construction route will not be blocked – and, of course, traffic will be smoother once the project is completed.
“The detours will vary… [but] Chemin Massillon will never be closed, ”said Pickett.
The first part of the project, about half a mile long, added three roundabouts – on State Road 619, Stein Road and Raber Road. The circular features have some criticism, but they allow for increased traffic without adding a sea of sidewalk, Neugebauer said. To help drivers who find roundabouts counterintuitive, the city edit a video available on YouTube at https://bit.ly/3pDJ6du.
“We are not going to build more sidewalks on Massillon Road,” Neugebauer said. “We’re not going to have nine lanes.”
Helped by reduced traffic at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction crews completed the first phase ahead of schedule. Pickett said unforeseen adjustments must be faced on any project, but courtesy between the city and the construction companies has minimized potential hiccups in the process.
“The most positive thing is the way the team worked together,” he said. “The spirit of collaboration between everyone was unusual. “
Prior to the project, the corridor was the 16th highest arterial collision section in Summit and Portage counties.
The mayor anticipates that this will change considerably, especially when the project is completed.
“It’s not about building roundabouts, it’s about building efficient transport systems,” Neugebauer said. “I can’t say it enough.”
He said the city’s growth required improving its main roads. According to the 2020 census, Green has grown 6.9% to 27,475 residents over the past decade, overtaking Barberton to become the county’s fourth largest city. It should have a capacity of 43,000 people, but that’s probably decades away.
“We have a constant flow of projects because we are a thriving and growing city,” Neugebauer said.
Future plans could include improvements to Arlington Road that would add a roundabout between State Route 619 and Boettler Road. It wouldn’t start until 2025 and depends on funding.
In the long run, long, see, Neugebauer expects driverless vehicles to end up being part of the city’s traffic equation. As the vehicles are used for delivery and other purposes, he predicts that they will actually help reduce accidents.
For now, however, drivers will have a new Massillon Road construction area to contend with this year as part of Green’s growing pains.
“You just can’t take all the sting out of a project,” Pickett said. “But you try.”
Leave a message to Alan Ashworth at 330-996-3859 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @newsalanbeaconj.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: 2022 brings the second part of the $ 15 million Chemin Massillon project from Green