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Plans underway to fix roads near Pro Football Hall of Fame

Plans underway to fix roads near Pro Football Hall of Fame

10/18/2017
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Original Story by Alison Matas, Canton Repository

A construction project intended to fix traffic problems near the Pro Football Hall of Fame is expected to break ground sometime between late March and May.

The changes mostly will affect U.S. Route 62 westbound and Interstate 77 southbound at the Fulton Road NW exit and Blake Avenue NW. The estimated $3.8 million project will be paid for using state and federal funds.

The Ohio Department of Transportation held a public hearing earlier this year to share information about the project. Here are answers and responses to some of the questions and comments residents posed to ODOT and an update on plans:

The project:

• The I-77 southbound exit ramp to Fulton Road NW will have four lanes: two right-turn lanes, a through lane and a left-turn lane.

• Two lanes of traffic from U.S. Route 62 westbound will continue into the so-called “weave” area of the interchange and a barrier will separate the lane that continues onto I-77 from the lane that exits to Fulton Road NW.

• The intersection of Fulton Road NW and Blake Avenue NW north of Fulton will become a cul-de-sac.

• The I-77 northbound exit will be widened to three lanes.

All the recommendations are the result of a two-year study that looked at existing traffic conditions and expected traffic conditions if there’s a full build-out of the estimated $800 million Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, which is expected to include a four-star hotel, more youth fields, retail and restaurants and a virtual reality amusement area and indoor waterpark.

Public response:

ODOT officials earlier this year came to Canton and held a public hearing to explain the project and collect questions and comments. Here’s what people had to say about the planned project and how ODOT responded.

You can see the full list of comments and questions submitted to ODOT, along with ODOT’s responses, here.

• Using Broad Avenue NW as a detour during construction will increase traffic and noise and burden the street. 

This was the most-frequently made comment from the public hearing, records show. ODOT responded that after conversations with Plain Township officials and seeing comments from residents, the detour will be re-routed somewhere else.

• There should be a traffic light at Fulton Road NW and Clearview Avenue NW to help with existing traffic and with increased traffic once Blake Avenue NW north of Fulton Road NW becomes a cul-de-sac. 

Consultants looked at how much additional traffic the cul-de-sac was expected to add, and during the peak hour of 5 to 6 p.m., it’s estimated the closure of Blake Avenue north of Fulton Road will mean an additional 12 vehicles at the intersection of Clearview Avenue and Fulton Road. The existing traffic levels don’t warrant a stoplight, and putting one in would disrupt the desired flow of traffic.

• Why can’t Blake Avenue NW north of Fulton Road NW become a right-turn-in, right-turn-out instead of being closed to traffic? 

Several commenters had this idea, and others simply were opposed to the idea that Blake Avenue NW north of Fulton Road NW won’t be accessible anymore. The recommendation to close this portion of Blake Avenue is intended to allow for more green-light time for cars turning right off the highway exit and cars traveling eastbound on Fulton Road NW. It also allows for three turns to happen simultaneously: vehicles heading northbound on Blake turning right onto Fulton, vehicles heading westbound on Fulton turning left onto Blake, and vehicles coming off the southbound exit ramp turning right onto Fulton.

• Drivers taking the I-77 southbound exit to Fulton Road NW don’t yield to drivers exiting U.S. Route 62 westbound to Fulton Road NW. Will they still have to yield once the new construction is done? 

No. The new configuration will add a lane so that drivers exiting U.S. Route 62 have their own lane onto the exit. It also will nearly triple the length of the weave area.

• Are my taxes increasing because of this project?

No. This is not a locally funded project and will not raise property taxes. The money is coming from state and federal funds.

What next?

The project is in the design phase and will be contracted in February, a spokesman for ODOT said. Work will start in the spring.

Another traffic project coming:

This isn’t the only Village-related traffic project underway. The Stark County Regional Planning Commission received $200,000 in federal funds to hire a consultant to conduct a land use and transportation study for the area surrounding the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The year-long study is supposed to produce a tool to help address traffic problems and to have a “community connections” component that will talk about how to connect the Village to downtown Canton and nearby neighborhoods.

Six consultants — including the consultants who completed a downtown-connection study for the Hall and the consultants who completed the traffic study for ODOT for the highway project — applied for the job, public records provided to The Canton Repository show.

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