BOARDMAN, Ohio - After more than three years on the drawing board, construction will begin this summer on a project to eliminate a major traffic bottleneck in Boardman.
Another accident Friday afternoon tied up traffic near the off ramp for I-680 South and Route 224. It's been a high accident area as drivers wanting to make a left turn have to cross two lanes of moving traffic.
But now a plan to end the congestion is moving forward.
Ken Sympson is the project manager for the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.
"The plan itself consists of the relocation of the southbound exit ramp on 680 to 224. They're going to put a tee intersection to 224 and signalize that," Sympson said.
The current ramp that merges traffic onto 224 will be eliminated and the new ramp will end at the signal which will control only westbound traffic on 224.
Access to 680 northbound will also be made easier for westbound traffic coming from Poland with an exclusive right lane for the northbound entrance ramp.
Boardman Fire Chief George Brown is hopeful that the changes will reduce the number of accidents.
"When we do have an emergency there the crew's safety is our foremost concern in working at the scene because the traffic continues to flow," Brown said.
Poland resident Todd Smith says during peak traffic hours it's sometimes impossible to go where you want to go. "Everyone is trying to get over one way or the other so it's just been bad," Smith said.
Businesses have heard many customer complaints about the bottleneck and welcome the project. The construction it's self will bring congestion.
"But 224 will remain open at least with one lane at all times," Sympson said.
Work will begin this summer on the 5.7 million dollar project.