The Ohio Department of Transportation has settled on the work to be done for safety improvements at the Route 62 intersections of Broadway Avenue and Bedford Road in Masury.
While Brookfield Township and Trumbull County officials had hoped that ODOT would expand the project to include drainage improvements, that will not be part of the scope of work. However, local officials said that they have gotten the ear of ODOT officials and believe that ODOT will address drainage in the future.
A safety study was commenced following a Sept. 20, 2018, fatal crash at Route 62 and Bedford. ODOT hired consulting firm EMH&T of Columbus to conduct the study, which resulted in the following recommendations:
- Bedford Road – Install a restricted crossing U-turn, known as an RCUT. The median that motorists now use to cross Route 62 from one side of Bedford to the other, turn left to enter 62 from Bedford, or exit Route 62 to turn left onto Bedford, will be blocked off. Motorists from Bedford who want to cross the highway or turn left onto 62 will cross two lanes of 62 and immediately enter a U-turn lane leading to a new median crossing. The U-turn will extend off the road on the other side of Route 62 so that trucks and other larger vehicles can swing the turn. Traffic on Route 62 looking to make left turns onto Bedford also will use the turn lanes. Right turns from Bedford to 62 or from 62 to Bedford will remain as they are.
- Broadway Avenue – The median will be blocked and traffic between Route 62 and Broadway would be restricted to right-turn-in or right-turn-out movements. Motorists who want to turn left or get across Route 62 will have to go to the Bedford RCUT, or use the Route 82-Route 62 cloverleaf.
“These designs will improve safety at both intersections by reducing the number of potential conflict points between vehicles,” said ODOT Project Manager Mark Anddrasik. The study noted the high incidence of crashes at both intersections.
Although the crossovers will be eliminated, an emergency U-turn will be built between Broadway and Route 82 for police, fire departments and medical personnel.
Those options were initially sanctioned by local officials more than a year ago, but ODOT held a virtual public meeting in June and opened up the project to public comment. In September, ODOT spokesman Ray Marsch announced that ODOT had decided to go with the above listed recommendations.
While this process was percolating at ODOT, township trustees said they would ask ODOT to include additional drainage work in the project. The township and county, using a federal Community Development Block Grant, did storm water drainage work between Second and Third streets to try to alleviate the street, yard and basement flooding that residents sometimes experience following heavy rains. The fix did not work as well as hoped. Officials said the water initially comes from Route 62, and washes down through the neighborhood.
ODOT released a statement that the proposed project “is not diverting or appreciably increasing discharge to the downstream outlets.” The project meets state and federal requirements concerning water discharge rates, and “No additional or new drainage will be added.”
However, that is not the end of the story. Trumbull County Deputy Engineer Gary Shaffer said he has had fruitful discussions with ODOT officials about addressing the water that comes off Route 62 into the neighborhood.
“It’s (water) just coming off of 62, I think we’ve identified that, and clearly illustrated that to them,” Shaffer said Oct. 18. “They’re willing to work toward a long-term solution to that flooding.”
In a document addressing the public comments concerning the Route 62 project, ODOT said, “The district is committed to conducting a separate drainage study along U.S. 62 to evaluate possible roadway drainage systems that can adequately convey storm water discharge. This study will be utilized as a planning document for future decision making within the U.S. 62 corridor.”
Concerning the safety upgrades, ODOT estimated that constructing the two preferred alternatives would cost $3.14 million, with the federal government paying for 90 percent of the cost. Officials said right-of-way acquisition – of no more than five properties – has begun, the design and right-of-way acquisition will be completed in 2022, and construction will be undertaken in spring 2023.