Turn lanes will be added in 'complete reconstruction' of Broad and Hamilton

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
Vehicles pass through the East Broad Street and South Hamilton Road intersection Oct. 5 in Whitehall. The crossroads is slated for improvements that will include dual left-turn lanes on three sides of the intersection.

The crossroads of East Broad Street and North and South Hamilton roads in Whitehall is slated for improvements that will include dual left-turn lanes on three sides of the intersection.

Design and engineering for the nearly $11 million project is underway, but construction is not expected to begin until 2023, said Whitehall development director Zach Woodruff.

The intersection was included on a list of 150 in Ohio that would most benefit from safety improvements, said Breanna Badanes, a public-information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation. The list was issued by issued this year by Gov. Mike DeWine, she said.

“This project is in the very early stages of development and is likely to include intersection widening with the addition of dedicated turn lanes,” Badanes said.

The intersection consistently ranked in the top 100 for high-crash intersections in the region from 2014 to 2016, according to Badanes .

In 2016, it was ranked No. 21 by MORPC and was No. 30 on ODOT’s Highway Safety Improvement Program list, she said.

"These rankings prompted a safety study in 2018 to identify crash trends and develop potential solutions," Badanes said.

According to ODOT, 124 crashes occurred at the intersection from 2015 to 2017;  of these 37, or 30%, were injury crashes, she said.

Twenty-eight percent of all crashes occurred from 4 to 7 p.m., and the most common kind of accident was a rear-end collision, accounting for 34% of the crashes, Badanes said.

Twenty-four percent of crashes were angle-type crashes, and nearly all of them occurred at driveways near the intersection, she said. Fifteen percent of crashes involved a left turn, she said.

A virtual public meeting on the proposed upgrade is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 9. All information about the project and the public meeting will be available at transportation.ohio.gov in November after the content is determined, Badanes said.

The ODOT project represents “a complete reconstruction,” including creating additional turn lanes, traffic-signal improvements, sidewalk replacement with curbs and ramps compliant with the American with Disabilities Act, street-light improvements and streetscape elements, such as street trees and brick pavement, Woodruff said.

The project includes a new right-turn lane from eastbound East Broad Street to southbound South Hamilton Road and dual left-turn lanes on the other three approaches to the intersection.

About 55,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day, Woodruff said.

“The intersection was prioritized by ODOT and the city of Whitehall for improvements based on crash and traffic congestion data," he said. "The intersection overhaul will improve safety and ease congestion for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists alike."

Related story:Changes in works for crash-prone Whitehall intersection

The estimated cost of the project is $10.9 million.

Of this amount, $9.5 million will be funded by federal and state sources and $1.4 million will come from a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission, Woodruff said.

The grant is pending, and, if approved, the earliest the funding would be available would be July 2021, said Megan Meyer, community-affairs manager for Whitehall.

“ODOT hopes to improve the overall safety of the intersection by construction of the project," said Rebecca Wagner, transportation engineer for ODOT's District 6 and the project manager. "The design consultant is scheduled to submit stage 1 plans and preliminary right-of-way plans by mid-October, and we hope to have the design completed by late summer of 2022."

Although the project is expected to improve safety and traffic flow at the intersection, it also represents another step in reimagining the corridor, Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard said.

The Lofts and Norton Crossing, a new apartment complex on the south side of East Broad Street just west of the intersection, opened this summer, along with the Old Bag of Nails Pub at Norton Crossing.

The next phase of the $55 million mixed-use Norton Crossing development that includes offices and retail space is expected to begin next year, according to Frank Kass, founder and chairman of Continental Real Estate Cos., the developer of Norton Crossing.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo