It's about that time when drivers begin to notice more orange barrels popping up throughout the area as construction season begins for the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The construction kick-off event for ODOT District 4 was held near State Route 93 (Manchester Road) where crews are already working on a roadway widening project.
District 4 Public Information Officer Justin Chesnic says ODOT is going door-to-door to let businesses and residents know about how construction in the area will impact their commute.
"That has actually helped a lot of businesses prepare," said Chesnic. "It's actually cut back on our complaints that we've gotten and kind of helps them to understand what's coming their way."
Chesnic says one of the biggest projects in Summit County is a $53 million pavement replacement project on Interstate 271.
"It's a highway that's 50 to 60 years old. Not just the pavement, but the base underneath it, the concrete, is starting to fail - so we have to go and rebuild the road completely."
Chesnic says even though it's a busy construction season, no major closures will impact drivers on the interstates.
Click here to find the full list of construction projects in your county.
Area motorists are kicking off the work week with yet another winter storm, which is expected to slow things down during the morning rush.
The National Weather Service forecasts up to four inches total by tonight. The latest forecast and conditions here on AkronNewsNow.
There is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for Summit, Stark, Wayne, Medina and Portage Counties. There could be a total of 3 to 5 inches of snow during this storm.
Brent Kovacs with ODOT District 4 says there's plenty of trucks out treating the roads making them safe. the district we have about 100 trucks out," Kovacs said. "We are treating the roads with salt and salt brine to make the commute safe for drivers."
LATEST school closings and delays
Medina's Sheriff issued a Level 1 Snow Emergency declaration. Here's what those advisories mean:
Snow Emergency Classifications
LEVEL 1: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Motorists are urged to drive very cautiously.
LEVEL 2: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be very icy. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work. Motorists should use extreme caution.
LEVEL 3: All roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be driving during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel or a personal emergency exists. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on the roads may subject themselves to arrest.
Back to the highways, ODOT's Kovacs says its important for drivers not to crowd the plows during the morning commute. "Just give the plows plently of space to work and remember that they are going below the posted speed limit so they can get that snow off the road."
He says ODOT trucks are working on 12 hour shifts both plowing and salting the roads.
City of Akron crews are busy as well, with 51 units out on the roadways as well. Public Works Manager Paul Barnett says they started working on primary roads early this morning for rush hour , but they are beginning to work on secondary roads, treating them with salt and salt brine.
A steady snowfall that began mid-morning was enough to frustrate drivers and keep road crews busy.
"All our indications are that this is a Clipper and one of the characteristics of a Clipper is that they do move through the area kind of quickly," said Brent Kovacs with the Ohio Department of Transportation.
There are 20 trucks servicing Summit County today, spreading calcium chloride.
The weather system is moving from the south, prompting many school districts from parts of Tuscarawas County to Columbus to dismiss students early today. In Summit County, ODOT is thinking the time of the storm - after the morning commute, but before the afternoon rush period - will make the ride home much easier than navigating the deteriorating road conditions around lunch time.
"We are hoping so," said Kovacs. "Our crews are out there battling hard to keep those roads wet for the commute home."
The National Weather Service calls for 1-2 inches of snow this afternoon. Less than a half-inch is likely tonight.
The Ohio Department of Transportation found a way to save $2 million a year and it has nothing to do with cutting jobs, reducing salaries or even buying cheaper supplies.
Instead, it's all about electricity.
ODOT has offices, garages and other facilities all over the state. Not surprisingly, according to ODOT Director Jerry Wray, there are a number of electricity providers. The department accepted bids from several providers that could serve all of ODOT's operations. DP&L Energy Resources submitted the best bid and will serve as the state's sole provider - at least for the next 24 months.
Wray says the annual savings is enough to pay for paving a 20-mile, two lane road.
He hopes to find a similar deal for natural gas service.
The westbound lanes of I-277 are open to traffic, following a month long closure for resurfacing and other work between I-77 and the Kenmore Leg.
"It went really well," said Ohio Department of Transportation Spokesman Justin Chesnic. "They got in there, milled off the surface, made the pavement repairs and got the new asphalt down."
The eastbound lanes were closed for a month earlier this year. Chesnic says closing down all lanes instead of single lane or intermittent closures reduced the amount of time to complete both sides of the highway from about two years to just two months.
ODOT officials said by completely closing I-277 during construction, there were "zero work zone injuries."
There is, however, still more work to be completed.
"There are some bridges we're still working on throughout the area," said Chesnic.
Also, the southbound portion of the Kenmore Leg will be closed for a week sometime in August. ODOT hasn't determined the exact timeframe.
If you've been driving the Kenmore Leg -- and banging your head against the steering wheel as the Ohio Department of Transportation closes major portions of I-277 for resurfacing work -- it might help to see just what you've been missing.
ODOT has a video news release posted to it's YouTube account detailing the roadway removal, structural work including drilling existing concrete to place new rebar elements, and new layers of asphalt as part of it's work on the westbound lanes of the highway. The video makes a point of noting worker safety is a key issue since those rebuilding the highway don't have to worry about speeding cars just a construction cone away.
ODOT expects the construction work to be completed by mid-July, just in time to give motorists time to get re-aquainted with the highway ahead of the Hall of Fame and World Golf Championship weekends.
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(ODOT) ODOT District 4 is now using video updates to inform the public on current road construction projects. The YouTube link below is an update on our Interstate 277 westbound closure. We are about half way through the 28 day closure on I-277 west and a lot of work has been completed up to this point. This video shows milling, full depth repairs and paving operations taking place over the past two weeks.
Akron motorists will have to gear up for another headache on the roads.
Starting tonight at 9 p.m., the Ohio Department of Transportation will be closing the eastbound lanes of the Kenmore Leg (I-76) for nine days for bridge and pavement repairs. The closure will last through Sunday, June 10.
The detour will be will be I-277/US 224 east to I-77 north and then to I-76 west.
The construction is part of a $13.2 million project to resurface I-76, Interstate 277 and US 224.
The following ramp closures will also be in place with the Kenmore Leg closure:
The westbound lanes of the Kenmore Leg will close at a later date.
Click here for the latest traffic updates from ODOT.
Motorists can let out a sigh of relief - 277 east is is open to traffic.
The nearly month-long closure between the Kenmore Leg and I-77 was scheduled to open late Sunday night.
Brent Kovacs, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 4, said construction crews worked diligently to complete the first phase of construction at the scheduled date.
The entire construction project includes:
- The reconstruction of I-277/I-76/US 224 in the city of Akron.
- The resurfacing of I-271 from state Route 8 to the Cuyahoga County line.
- Bridge re-decking of seven bridges along I-77 in northern Summit County
Starting June 1, drivers will still have to adjust their routes as ODOT closes the Kenmore Leg for one week in each direction. However, the closures will not occur at the same time.
Construction on I-277 west will close between I-77 and the Kenmore Leg in late June for about a month.
Click here to get the latest updates from ODOT.
Construction is right on track as crews prepare for the next steps to resurface Interstate 277 east.
ODOT spokesman Justin Chesnic said despite some crowding on the roads, motorists have been able to get around the closure with little problems.
"We've had a few complaints, but actually, we had a lot of people very surprised at how well traffic has been moving with the complete closure." Chesnic said.
Chesnic said the contractor has made concrete repairs and starting next week, crews will start paving the road.
"The old pavement has been removed and the repairs are almost completed, said Chesnic."And from there, we are going to focus on the resurfacing of the road and doing some more overlays on the bridges."
Motorists also noticed a list of ramp closures that followed after I-277 closed. Chesnic said some of the ramp closures were intended to reduce merging traffic.
"We are moving and detouring about 60,000 vehicles. There are a few ramps that were closed that people are not going to see construction."
The ramp closures include:
Chesnic said construction is on schedule and I-277 east is expected to reopen May 21st.
Drivers will still have to adjust their routes starting in June as ODOT closes the Kenmore Leg for one week in each direction. However, the closures will not occur at the same time.
ODOT officials are investigating what caused a large light pole to fall onto the eastbound lanes of I-76 near the Arlington Street exit in Akron early Tuesday afternoon.
ODOT spokesman Justin Chesnic tells AkronNewsNow such collapses are very rare and they're lucky that no vehicles were hit by the falling pole or debris.
"Our belief is it either could be the wind, the higher speed of wind we've had over the past few days that have been pretty continual could have knocked those over, or they would tend to fall over if they're struck by a truck or a car, or something of that nature," says Chesnic.
The collapse narrowed traffic to only one lane for a couple of hours while the light pole was removed. There were no injuries.
"We're investigating to find out in the near future how this happened. These light poles are inspected whenever we go out We have a contractor that fixes lights that are burned out. They will inspect those (poles) every once in a while. There's no strict inspection guidelines for example like our bridges and our roads, which we inspect every year. But they are looked at whenever repairs are made to the lights," says Chesnic.
The light pole that collapsed was anchored to a concrete median on I-76.
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