Major safety improvement project gets under way in Heart of Amish Country
State and local partnership developed for Road to a Better Berlin
New Philadelphia, Ohio (Tuesday, May 12, 2015) – Together, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, and the Berlin Main Street Merchants are announcing the start this week of a $4.3 million investment to improve safety and better downtown Berlin in Holmes County.
“This safety project is intended to better not only travel conditions for motorists but also pedestrians – through the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country,” said ODOT District 11 Deputy Director Lloyd MacAdam.
Holmes County’s Amish Country attracts approximately 4 million visitors each year. Located in northeast-central Ohio, the region is equidistant from Pittsburgh, Columbus and Cleveland, all of which are less than two hours by car.
“Visitors come to Amish Country for the cultural and country-life experience, beautiful scenery, hand-crafted goods, and locally produced food. Berlin is one of the busiest, most frequently visited areas in our region. More than 60 retail businesses line Main Street, offering shopping, dining and lodging – making it a popular place for tourists to spend a day,” said Shasta Mast, Holmes County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau Executive Director.
“This project ultimately will improve visitors’ experience in our community, enhancing safety while making Berlin more pedestrian friendly,” she added.
About a ½ mile of Main Street will be reconstructed, resulting in many improvements, including:
A 51-space parking lot on the south side of Main Street along Township Road 1001
Widening to include a center, left-turn lane down Main Street
New, wider sidewalks on both sides of Main Street, including ADA ramps at all intersections
New mid-block crosswalk for pedestrians
New curb and storm gutters
New enclosed storm sewer system
And, upgraded traffic signals
MacAdam said, “The first task will be to construct a central parking lot for Berlin’s downtown patrons. Our staff worked really hard with the community to find a suitable location for the downtown businesses, so we could remove on-street parking to make a center, left-turn lane on Main Street – which was critical to improving the current congestion, traffic flow, and safety of thru travel.”
Two-way traffic will be maintained throughout construction – with the exception of some nighttime lane restrictions for storm sewer installations and off-peak, weekend intersection closures for tie-in work.
ODOT’s contractor for this project is Shelly & Sands Inc., from Columbus, Ohio, and the completion date is July 31, 2016.
MacAdam said, “We are extremely happy to see this project come to fruition. It’s been a long time in the making, and we are excited for Berlin to reap the benefits just in time for their 200th birthday next year.”
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Ohio’s highways are essential to keeping and creating new jobs. With a mission to provide easy movement of people and goods from place to place, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is responsible for maintaining one of the largest transportation networks in the nation. Guided by ethical principles and accountability, ODOT works to improve safety, enhance travel and advance economic development. As a $2.8 billion enterprise, the department wisely invests in its core services of snow and ice removal, annual construction program and highway maintenance operations.
Shasta Mast, Executive Director, at (330) 674-3975