Area officials ask ODOT to reconsider I-380 request

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

Officials are making a second plea to have Route 8 designated as Interstate 380 after the Ohio Department of Transportation denied their first request.

Several months ago the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study and area officials asked the Ohio Department of Transportation to help them seek an interstate designation from the Federal Highway Administration for an 18-mile portion of Route 8 between Interstate 76/77 in Akron and Interstate 271 in Macedonia.

In an April 10 letter, six mayors, two county officials and AMATS Director Jason Segedy asked ODOT Director Jerry Wray to reconsider the designation to Interstate 380.

The letter supports its claim by citing the road's high volume of traffic -- more than 120,000 motorists per day -- its connectivity between Akron and Cleveland and its functional importance as one of Ohio's most important freeway facilities.

Those making the request included Akron Mayor Donald Plusquellic, Village of Boston Heights Mayor William Goncy, Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters, Hudson Mayor William Currin, Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta and Stow Mayor Sara Drew, along with the Summit County Executive Russell Pry and Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker.

Segedy said ODOT officials in March 2014 told him the change would be too expensive with significant costs to replace signs, additional maintenance personnel, facilities and materials.

ODOT Press Secretary Steve Faulkner did not return phone calls by press time.

The April 10 letter asks ODOT to consider the long-term benefits to the region, including "improved wayfinding to major attractions, economic benefits in terms of job and business attraction; and potential future funding opportunities."

The requests included options to reduce costs such as local governments continuing to bear the cost of routine maintenance in the short-term and work with ODOT toward an "equitable sharing of costs."

The local communities would explore creative and innovative methods to secure local and/or federal funding for replacing the existing state Route 8 highway signage with Interstate 380 designation.

Finally the letter requested a meeting with ODOT in Columbus to discuss the proposal and possible collaboration.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

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