GREEN Drivers along Massillon Road will see construction begin on two additional roundabouts south of Interstate 77 within the next couple of years.
The roundabouts have been long talked about, but in June the city held two public meetings about a one for the intersection of Boettler Road and Massillon Road and the intersection of Corporate Woods Circle and Massillon Road.
City of Green Engineer Paul Pickett said as the city has grown, so has the congestion along Massillon Road. He said some improvements have been made in the past such as installing a closed-loop traffic light system 10 years ago, but that won't carry the city much into the future.
The city is also preparing for the Massillon Road North project, which will begin next year and be a two construction season project. This project will address Massillon Road from Raber Road to state Route 619 with the installation of three roundabouts.
Once that project is complete, the focus will shift south.
"We knew we had to start looking at this section south of the highway," Pickett said.
He said four intersections were studied – Massillon Road and Boettler Road, Massillon Road and Corporate Woods Circle, Corporate Woods Circle and Corporate Woods Parkway and Boettler Road and Corporate Woods Parkway.
This spring, the final paving of the roundabout at Corporate Woods Circle and Corporate Woods Parkways was completed.
Pickett said the two roundabouts on Massillon Road will be designed together and could be constructed at the same time. The roundabout at the intersection of Boettler Road and Corporate Woods Parkway may not begin until after, he said.
In 2014, a traffic study was done to determine if traffic signals or roundabouts would be a better solution to improve the intersections. Keeping traffic signals to improve the traffic flow would require adding additional through lanes on Massillon Road, which would require the road to be widened. In doing so, the city would have to acquire costly right-of-way.
It is estimated if the city were to keep traffic signals at the two intersections on Massillon Road, it would have to be widened to nine lanes. With the roundabouts, two lanes in each direction on Massillon Road will be able to remain.
The exact construction timeframe hasn't been determined, but Pickett estimates construction is likely to begin in 2022.
Drivers are reminded to yield to vehicles in the roundabout, yield to pedestrians and not to change lanes once in the circle.
During the two public meetings, several business owners along the stretch of Massillon Road asked questions about the project.
John Menches, who owns Menches Brothers Restaurant, asked about how traffic will be maintained during the project.
Plans call for maintaining traffic during the project with one lane northbound and two lanes southbound at all times. The roundabouts will be built in phases with construction on the east side first and then the west side. There may be some small closures during the project, but those details are still being worked out.
Jim Branney, who owns Splash N Dash Car Care Center, asked if traffic at the stoplight near Interstate 77 could be timed so that it doesn't back up to the roundabout.
Pickett said they will be able to somewhat time those lights but added that the city can't have the exit ramps from the highway backing up onto the highway.
Pickett said with the Massillon Road North project being done before the south project starts, he expects traffic to flow easier through the corridor. He said much of the reason the traffic backs up near the interstate now is because there is only one lane going north past Raber Road.
Branney also asked about connecting Thorn Drive to CVS Drive to help some traffic flow better behind the businesses. That connection is expected to be done to help ease some of the traffic.