Western Avenue Intersection to be Permanently Closed
Closure will be in place by February 1
Lima (Monday, January 11, 2010) – The intersection of Western Avenue and Township Road 81 with U.S. 68/SR 15 south of Findlay will be closed completely and permanently on February 1, said Ohio Department of Transportation District One Deputy Director Leonard E. Brown.
“The incremental changes we’ve made at this intersection since 2006 to increase its safety have helped but have not adequately reduced the occurrences of crashes,” said Brown. “ODOT’s Target Zero initiative states we will take a zero-tolerance stance toward any identified safety concern. We feel we’ve reached that point with this location,” he said.
ODOT has maintained a consistent effort to monitor and alter the intersection. The department began to move toward the closure option following the most recent crash which occurred December 15.
“Given the recent crash, that accidents continue to happen at the intersection, and funding to perform any major improvements at this location may not be designated in the near future, the decision to close the intersection was made,” he said.
The department is supported in its decision. “From our perspective, closure of the intersection is the best course of action and will result in an immediate increase in safety,” said Lt. Jerrod Savidge of the Findlay Ohio State Highway Patrol post. “Safety must take precedence over any other issue relating to this intersection,” he said.
Brown said the closure of the intersection will take place in the following manner:
• The entire intersection will be closed permanently on February 1. Signage announcing the closure will be placed at the intersection two weeks prior to allow motorists a period of adjustment. Barricades will be placed at Western Avenue and at Township Road 81 to prevent access from these side roads to the highway. In addition, barricades will be placed in the median area to prevent vehicle access. The barricades will remain in place over the winter. The overhead flashing beacon will be repaired this week and will continue to operate until the intersection is closed.
• In the spring, the pavement which connects Western Avenue and Township Road 81 to U.S. 68/SR 15 will be removed as will the pavement in the median crossover. The overhead beacon, electrical lines and utility poles in the median will be removed in the spring as well.
The department understands the magnitude of the closure, said Brown, but public safety must be and is at the center of the decision. “The concerns and comments of all those who took the time to attend the public meeting, write an email or a letter, or call the district office were considered in this decision,” said Brown.
For more information contact:
Rhonda Pees, Public Information Officer, at (419) 999-6803
or email D01.PIO@dot.state.oh.us