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STOW -- A small part of a nearly $50 million reconstruction of Route 8 in Stow and Hudson in the next few years could be helpful to motorists using the interchange at Seasons Road.
Stow City Engineer Jim McCleary said the Route 8 project is expected to include the installation of traffic signals at the ramps on Seasons on both sides of the Route 8 overpass.
McCleary said he hopes the lights will go up early in the project, which could begin in late 2018.
"Fall of 2018 to have the traffic signals would be ideal," said McCleary. "The overall construction project on Route 8 is technically not funded until July 2018."
According to a pre-2012 traffic count, the most recent available from the Akron Metropolitan Area Traffic Study, average daily traffic volume on Seasons Road for the east side of the interchange was 8,690 vehicles while for the west side it was 5,390 vehicles. The count does not take into account any traffic related to two large office/warehouse buildings constructed on the interchange's east side in the last couple of years. A third, even larger, building is planned at the site.
AMATS reports for 2013 to 2015 do not include Seasons Road at the interchange as either a high crash intersection of a high crash road section.
Justin Chesnic, spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Transportation's District 4 office in Akron, said the cost of installing the traffic signals is estimated at about $150,000. He said it is uncertain when the signals will be installed, adding it could be in late 2018 or sometime in 2019.
"The city of Stow is going to provide the poles and we're going to put the signals up as part of the state Route 8 pavement replacement job," said Chesnic.
Route 8 project needed
Chesnic said the Route 8 project, estimated at $48.5 million with 80 percent coming from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the remainder from ODOT, will be a reconstruction of the highway from Graham Road in Stow to Route 303 in Hudson, a distance of about 5.5 miles.
"It's a complete replacement," said Chesnic. "That means we are going all the way down. We are removing the road that's there and even the roadbed. So the dirt that's underneath, we're going all the way down to the dirt. We'll replace that with new fill and build a new road on top of that."
He said the project, which will also include "miscellaneous bridge work," is currently projected to be awarded to a contractor in summer 2018 and the project completed at the end of 2020.
"Those dates can definitely change a little bit because it's so far out," said Chesnic.
ODOT traffic counts in 2013 indicated that 61,000 vehicles were moving along Route 8 at Graham Road daily while 47,000 vehicles were passing Route 303.
That stretch of Route 8 has been in need of reconstruction for some time and last year, ODOT did about $1 million in repairs as a stopgap until the full reconstruction project was funded and ready to go.
In 2015, Stow got a taste of why the work needs to be done. In September that year, City Council approved payment of a nearly $1,300 "moral claim" to an Akron man and woman as compensation for damages to their car caused by a concrete slab dropping several inches on Route 8 the previous July. There were no reported injuries in the accident.
City officials said at the time that the city, which is responsible for lesser repairs and maintenance on the section of Route 8 running through Stow, inspects the highway daily for such damage and usually makes repairs before accidents happen. However, in this case, it was not discovered until a service department employee reported it while driving home and because it was a Friday night, there was not enough time to get a repair crew out before the accident.