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The Suburbanite
  • Some visitors face traffic nightmare

  • The issue: Access to Canton from the east

    Our view: Timing of two ODOT projects will leave festival-goers feeling unwelcome

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  • The issue: Access to Canton from the east
    Our view: Timing of two ODOT projects will leave festival-goers feeling unwelcome
    Our welcome to Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival visitors this week comes with a regrettable warning: Leave plenty of extra time to get into our fair city if you’re driving in on one highway from the east. Better yet, take another route.
    For several weeks, drivers coming into Canton from the east on state Route 172 have stoically endured long, slow lines of traffic. The state is taking care of a long-overdue need, replacing a bridge built at least 90 years ago on Tuscarawas Street E west of Trump Avenue.
    The Ohio Department of Transportation has closed East Tusc until late September. The detour, which takes westbound traffic south on Trump to U.S. Route 30, sometimes has vehicles backed up for a mile or more on Route 172 toward East Canton.
    Now drivers’ — and festival visitors’ — patience is about to be tested further.
    Starting Friday, ODOT will reduce traffic at the intersection of Trump Avenue NE and Route 30 to one through lane and one left-turn lane in each direction while workers replace the concrete medians. That project will continue into late October. To state the obvious, this is bound to slow traffic even more.
    Drivers in Northeast Ohio can deal with most inconveniences, even long-lasting ones, if it means their roads will be better as a result. But the timing of this second project is awful. What was ODOT was thinking, piggybacking one project onto the other? And it comes just in time to snare visitors to the festival and enshrinement events. ODOT surely knows this is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the state each summer.
    Meanwhile, a county project is under way to install left-turn lanes at Trump Avenue and Georgetown Street NE north of Route 172. This work will continue well into August, so Georgetown is not your ticket for entering Canton from the east.
    Look north to U.S. Route 62, and hope no one has had the bright idea to start road work there.
    And please persevere, because once here, you’ll have a ball.