Driving around the Akron area there are pretty good odds you will encounter orange barrels as the Ohio Department of Transportation gears up for another busy season of ongoing projects and some new projects.
In Summit County, ODOT has $168.3 million in projects active and is planning to begin another $64.5 million.
Main and Broadway project
Construction is ongoing to construct a new Main Street and to create a new Main and Broadway interchange along Interstate 76 just west of the central interchange near downtown Akron.
Last fall, ODOT closed the ramp from Interstate 77 northbound to I-76 westbound; the ramp from I-76 eastbound to I-77 southbound; and the ramp from Lakeshore Boulevard to I-76 eastbound. Those ramps are expected to reopen in late August.
In addition, ODOT closed the ramp from state Route 8 southbound to I-76 westbound, which is expected to remain closed through late August 2019.
ODOT District 4 Public Information Officer Justin Chesnic said the project is progressing, which is being done in three different phases over three years. He said two lanes of traffic are being maintained on I-76 while construction is ongoing.
Work now is being done on the eastbound side of the road as the pavement is being completely replaced. Chesnic said the ramps at Grant Street and Wolf Ledges have been removed and both bridges were replaced.
The new two-way Main Street is expected to be completed this fall as this combines what used to be two one-way streets into one two-way street.
"The whole project is on schedule," Chesnic said. "It is just a lot of work."
ODOT is planning to close the I-76 westbound ramp to Broadway for 14 days in August to work on the ramp. Then in late August or early September, work will shift to the westbound lanes of I-76 to replace the pavement and finish ramp work. That will continue until June of 2020 when the project should be completed.
Interstate 76 widening
Another huge ongoing project is the widening of Interstate 76 in Barberton. Widening is being done from just west of the Kenmore Leg to state Route 21 and the pavement is being replaced from state Route 21 to the Medina County line.
Work on the westbound section was done last year and this year the work is being done on the eastbound section. Once the work is completed, there will be three lanes in each direction.
Currently, the ramp from I-76 eastbound to state Route 21 northbound is closed through early May. In addition, the ramp from I-76 eastbound to State Street in Barberton is closed through mid-May along with the ramp from state Route 21 southbound to I-76 eastbound.
ODOT also has the ramp from Barber Road to I-76 eastbound closed through early July.
The goal, Chesnic said, this year is to finish the widening of the road as the top coat of asphalt is expected to be applied next spring.
Additional upcoming ramp closures as a part of this project include:
- This month, the ramp from I-76 eastbound to Cleveland-Massillon Road will be closed for 45 days.
- In mid-June, the ramp from I-76 eastbound to SR 21 southbound will be closed for 60 days.
- In late July, the ramp from state Route 21 northbound to I-76 eastbound will be closed for 60 days.
- In late July, the ramp Cleveland-Massillon Road to I-76 eastbound will be closed for 45 days.
Additional I-76 widening
Once the widening is finished, there will be more to come for motorists on I-76 as ODOT plans to widen the highway from Central Avenue east to the Kenmore Leg starting in late 2019 or early 2020.
ODOT plans to create a full interchange at State Street and close the ramps at Wooster Road North.
"Those interchanges are just too close together," Chesnic said.
As a part of the project, access roads will be constructed connecting State Street to Wooster Road North (state Route 619).
The entire widening and construction of new ramps is expected to take about two years to complete.
State Route 8 pavement replacement
ODOT is planning a $48 million pavement replacement project from Graham Road to 303. Plans call for the concrete to be removed and replaced with asphalt.
"We are replacing a lot of concrete with asphalt," Chesnic said. "It is a lot more cost effective."
Chesnic also said it is much easier to make repairs to asphalt compared to concrete.
Some construction along this stretch will start this year, but most of it will not be done until 2019 and 2020. Traffic will be reduced to two lanes in each direction during construction.
Chesnic said the area is a very busy corridor and motorists can also expect some ramp closures in the area during the course of the project.
The best place for motorists to stay updated on all the projects and updated closures Chesnic said is www.dothedetour.org. ODOT has also launched a Stark County projects website www.ohgo.com/Stark for updated on Stark County projects.