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A PROGRESS REPORT ON THE STUDY OF IMPROVEMENTS BETWEEN NAPOLEON AND TOLEDO

The US 24 Preliminary Development Study is in Step Three of a Nine Step Process. For the last several months, previously recorded data has been collected in a wide variety of disciplines throughout the entire study area to identify sensitive resources that should be protected or avoided in the development of any new transportation alternatives. This data collection included resources within three main categories: Cultural Resources (historic structures and archaeological sites), Ecological Resources (wetlands, floodplains and endangered species) and Socioeconomic Resources and Features (environmental justice, cemeteries, churches, schools, parklands).

The information obtained during this data collection/inventory phase is being used by the engineers and planners in developing alternative corridors for improving US 24. At the same time, the study team has been carefully evaluating the transportation problems in the US 24 corridor, and analyzing what conditions will be like 25 years in the future if no substantive improvements are made. It is important at this time to share the information with you, citizens who live, work or travel through the corridor, and to obtain your thoughts, comments and any additional information you may have. This newsletter is intended to:

  • Announce the upcoming public open house meetings where the public can review the information and provide comments.
  • Provide a general overview of the material that will be available at the public meetings.
  • Announce the US 24 WEB SITE - another way to get information and communicate with the study team.
  • Explain what will take place over the course of the next several months following the public meetings.

A GLANCE AT SOME OF
THE FINDINGS SO FAR

  • The vast majority of US 24 that is within the study area (22.2 of the 25.3 miles) is a two-lane roadway. Of this two-lane portion, 29% is marked as "no passing."
  • There are over 400 at-grade conflict points along the highway, including over 240 residential driveways.
  • Traffic volumes are projected to increase by over 60% in most locations of the corridor over the next 25 years. Year 2023 traffic through Waterville is expected to be over 30,000 vehicles per day, compared with 18,000 per day currently.
  • Heavy trucks currently make up 43% of the traffic in the western portion of the study area, and over 20% of the volume in the Lucas County portion. Since 1990, truck traffic on US 24 has been increasing at a rate of over 12% per year. In the Year 2023 peak hour, 400 heavy trucks per hour are projected to travel through Waterville.
  • The great majority of the eastbound truck traffic is bound for Toledo and points north, rather than to destinations to the south or east.
  • Over the past three years, an average of 59 accidents and 2 fatalities per year have taken place on US 24 in the study area. Some 70% of the accidents are intersection-related accidents.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Once the study team members have received input from the public on the alternative corridors, Step Four of the process will include narrowing the number of alternative corridors to the ones that are the most feasible to pursue and analyze. Experts in various disciplines (archaeologists, biologists, land use planners and others) will begin field work to collect additional data to identify and map resources within the selected corridors. Property owners will be notified should field work require access to their property. This work will continue into the fall of this year.

Preliminary engineering will take place in Step Five of the study and is scheduled to last from late Fall, 1999 through Spring of 2000 to develop alternative alignments within the corridors. As these alternatives are developed, every effort will be made to avoid and minimize impacts to the identified resources wherever practicable. The next set of public open house meetings will take place in approximately one year. At that time, input from the public will be extremely important because it will assist us in selecting the preferred alternative.

PUBLIC INVITED TO REVIEW INFORMATION AND CORRIDOR ALTERNATIVES

The Ohio Department of Transportation -- District 2, is hosting two identical open house meetings for the US 24 Preliminary Development Study. Study team members will be available to answer questions and to take comments. It is very important that those attending provide as much information as possible to the study team. If you know of a resource (church, historic structure, contaminated material site) which is not shown on the exhibits -- tell us. Give us your comments on the transportation problems in the corridor and on alternative corridors being considered for further investigation and analysis. This information can be very valuable as the study proceeds.

The meeting dates, times and locations are listed below. You may attend either meeting. The same information will be shown at each.

 Wed., June 2, 1999

Thurs., June 3, 1999
Waterville Elementary School
457 Sycamore Lane
Waterville, Ohio
3:30 p.m. -- 7:30 p.m.
Open House
No formal presentation
Liberty Center High School
103 W. Young St.
Liberty Center, Ohio
3:30 p.m. -- 7:30 p.m.
Open House
No formal presentation

WHAT WILL BE SHOWN AT
THE MEETINGS?

As mentioned earlier, data about the existing corridor has been collected and this information will be shared at the open house meetings. Citizens will be able to view maps showing the locations of social, cultural and environmental resources which must be recognized when developing alternatives.

Along with this information, exhibits will be displayed presenting details of the transportation problems in the US 24 corridor, including:

  • Existing and year 2023 projected traffic volumes for daily and peak-hour traffic, including truck volumes.
  • Traffic Level of Service (LOS) is a measure of congestion on a roadway. The public will see how the different segments of the existing highway are rated now, and what they would be if no improvements are made in the US 24 corridor.
  • Recent accident data.

Based on this information, potential alternative corridors are being developed to show areas where improvements could be made. These "corridors" are 2000 feet wide and will be shown on maps for review. To allow room to shift any proposed improvements to minimize potential impacts, their width is at least five times as wide as would be necessary for a four-lane highway. The actual amount of right-of-way that would be required would be significantly less than shown on the maps.

US 24 WEB SITE NOW READY

You can now obtain information about the US 24 Preliminary Development Study at www.usrt24.com. You may also access this site through ODOT's ­ District 2 web site at www.dot.state.oh.us/dist2. A feedback form is included for citizens to provide input to to the study team and to send comments as this important study moves forward. All comments will receive a written response or acknowledgement.

Fort to Port Improvement Organization

For years, the name Fort to Port Improvement Organization is one that many of you have heard and connect with US Route 24. The organization is committed to seeing improvements made to the road from I-475 in Maumee, Ohio, to Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

While the organization has been around since the early 1990s, many of us began seeking answers to the safety issues that this busy road created back in 1985. But even this "current" attempt is predated by two previous attempts in 1974 and 1963. It would seem that this third time is a charm.

Through the efforts of many citizens and elected officials, we are once again starting the process of providing a safer Route 24. How this is to be achieved is still to be determined and can only be decided by the input and participation of all interested people. Over the next two years, the Ohio Department of Transportation will conduct the all-important environmental and alignment study that must be concluded before any construction for a safer highway can begin.

As co-chairperson of the Fort to Port Improvement Organization, I cannot urge you strongly enough to become involved in this important project. Get on the mailing list for this newsletter and attend all public open houses that will be held to obtain input and opinion from all of us that live with this road on a daily basis. U.S. Route 24 plays a vital role in the economic health of Northwest Ohio. The decisions made over the next two years will impact our lives for generations to come.

Jamie Black
Co-chairman ­ Fort to Port Improvement Organization

Copyright 1999 Jacobs, Inc.