For informational/historical purposes only.

NEWS RELEASE

Ohio Department of Transportation Internet News Release
January 14, 2003

ODOT and the City of Akron Commemorate Start of State Route 8 Reconstruction
$25-million Project in Downtown Akron Gets Underway

AKRON Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor today joined Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, University of Akron President Dr. Luis Proenza, local business and community leaders, and elected officials to commemorate the beginning of a $25-million construction project on State Route 8 through downtown Akron.

"This project will improve mobility and reduce travel time throughout the Route 8 corridor," said Proctor. "As Summit County's oldest highway, the route needs to be rebuilt to accommodate the needs of motorists today and into the future."

This 1.3-mile stretch of SR 8 from just north of the central interchange where it meets Interstate 77 and Interstate 76 to a location just north of Perkins Street, will be completely reconstructed during the next two years to address safety issues and to improve access to the downtown area.

As a vital link to downtown Akron and points north and south of the city, this portion of SR 8 will be completely rebuilt. Existing ramps will be lengthened while some ramps will be eliminated entirely. Access roads both to the east and west of SR 8 will be constructed and will provide improved access to downtown locations, including Summa Health systems and the University of Akron.

This portion of highway was built in the 1960s to accommodate about 20,000 vehicles per day. Today, this number has skyrocketed to 120,000 vehicles daily. Difficult merges and short exits off of the highway will be virtually eliminated by this project. Longer ramps will be built and the distance between ramps will be lengthened as this section of highway is rebuilt to meet today's design standards.

"ODOT is committed to improving our state highways, making them safer and easier to navigate while expediting the construction process as much as possible," said Proctor.

Although final completion is scheduled for May 2005, ODOT will offer the project's contractor, Ruhlin Construction, a $1 million bonus if construction is substantially completed by August 2004. However, if the contractor does not finish the bulk of work by late fall 2004, daily fines up to a total of $1 million will be imposed.