Long delays are a common sight at the intersection of Whipple Avenue Northwest and Everhard Road Northwest during peaks times.
The county has a plan to improve safety and help traffic flow through the intersection more effectively.
Stark County Chief Deputy Engineer Dave Torrence said the intersection is one of the busiest in the county with more than 50,000 cars passing through daily. The project was recently awarded to Wenger Excavating for $7.8 million.
Torrence said the intersection has a fairly high accident rate and motorists often experience delays.
“The intersection was built in the 1970s and is due to be reconstructed,” Torrence said.
Plans call for the intersection to be widened to include additional turn lanes. A two-way left turn lane will be constructed for motorists on Whipple Avenue wishing to turn west onto Everhard Road. In addition, a two-way left turn lane will be constructed on Everhard Road for motorists wishing to turn south onto Whipple Avenue.
The project also includes the lengthening of all the turn lanes and adding drop right turn lanes on Everhard Road in both directions. Curbs, gutters and storm sewers will also be upgraded at the intersection. Two aging culverts will also be replaced as a part of the project.
Also as a part of the project, improvements will be made to the Everhard Road East ramp, which exits from Interstate 77. Motorists are supposed to only turn east on Everhard Road when exiting the ramp, which runs alongside Whipple Avenue, but some try to cut over and get into other lanes, Torrence said. A concrete barrier will be installed so motorists can only turn east onto Everhard Road and will not be able to cut over. He said the barrier will be a safety improvement. The ramp is expected to experience a three day closure when the new ramp is constructed.
The two-season project is expected to begin soon as construction will begin on Whipple Avenue north of the intersection. A two-week closure is expected north of the intersection in the fall. In 2019, there will be a closure on Everhard Road NW east for 60 days.
Outside of the closures, one lane of traffic is expected to be maintained in each direction on Whipple Avenue along with a center turn lane.
“Expect delays,” Torrence said. “There are delays now, avoid it if possible.”
Torrence said between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will be no lane restrictions to help traffic flow better.
“We know it is really congested that time of year,” Torrence said.
The county has met with local businesses in the area to make them aware of the project.
“When it is all done it will be much better for businesses,” Torrence said.
Also grouped in with the project is the resurfacing of Everhard Road from the railroad tracks to South Main Street.
Other Stark County projects
This is a busy year for the county, Torrence said, as more than $20 million in projects are expected. Here are a few others planned:
– Resurfacing Whipple Avenue Northwest from Belden Village Street to Tuscarawas Street West.
– Resurfacing Dressler Road Northwest from Whipple Avenue Northwest to Everhard Road Northwest.
– Resurfacing Pittsburg Avenue in Jackson Township.
– Resurfacing Strausser Street Northwest in Jackson Township.
– Resurfacing Middlebranch Avenue Northeast in Plain Township.
– Adding a traffic signal at Shuffle Street and Freedom Avenue Northwest.
This story was also published in The Suburbanite. www.thesuburbanite.com