The city is considering turning the intersection of Alternate State Route 83 and Chestnut Ridge Road into a roundabout.

If City Council decides to go ahead with it, the $800,000 project could be done in about a year and would ease congestion at the intersection, which averages slightly more than 2,100 cars daily during morning and afternoon rush hours, City Engineer Daniel Rodriguez said. The Ohio Department of Transportation rated the intersection an “F" during rush hour.

The “F” rating was not due to a rash of crashes happening. It was because of traffic delays and backups lasting 80 seconds or longer at the intersection, said North Ridgeville Safety-Service Director Jeff Armbruster.

A stop sign at Alternate 83 and Chestnut Ridge is controlling the northbound lane on Alternate 83,

“During rush hour, cars are parking and backing up on the shoulder of Interstate 480, waiting to get onto Alternate 83 during rush hour,” Armbruster said. “We’re going to take that intersection from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’ (delays less than 10 seconds) immediately and reduce the possibility of crashes happening there. Right now, that area is a crash waiting to happen.”

Council held a public hearing July 15 about the project and four residents voiced concerns about the traffic and the project.

"I can't get out of my driveway during rush hour traffic," said Nancy Schartmo, who lives at 8576 Avon Belden Road.

Schartmo and the other three who spoke have all lived near the intersection for more than 30 years and said that traffic is getting worse due to overbuilding. All said they believe there are better options to ease traffic congestion than a roundabout.

“A roundabout isn't going to help,” Jon Tipple said. “The intersections of SR 83 and Chestnut Ridge and 83 and Sugar Ridge need left-turn lanes. Let's do something that everyone can benefit from. This is ridiculous."

Motorists traveling east and west on Chestnut Ridge are free-flowing and don’t have to stop.

A typical intersection has 32 “conflict” points, or points of the likelihood of a crash happening. A roundabout has eight conflict points, Rodriguez said.

“A roundabout decreases the chances of a crash happening by 75 percent,” Rodriguez said.

“We need to do something that’s sustainable and correct,” Armbruster added. “With the roundabout, the only delay would be the learning curve. People learned how to drive around the first one. There’s other roundabouts in Ohio, and a lot of them around the country. People are getting used to them, and they’re working.”

Kim Stermole, a 34-year resident of 37872 Sugar Ridge Road, said a stop sign at the intersection worked better before a traffic signal was installed.

"They're building too many houses in North Ridgeville, and that keeps causing more and more traffic. They're just building and building with no planning for the future," she said.

Council President Kevin Corcoran supported Stermole’s comments. He said that stop signs at the intersection of SR 83 and Chestnut Ridge could be better than the existing traffic signal that replaced the stop signs a number of years ago.

"People stopped at the stop signs took turns going through the intersection," Corcoran said.

City Council will vote on whether to proceed with the roundabout at its Aug. 5 meeting. The city plans to apply for a $350,000 Ohio Public Works Commission grant, which would cover nearly half of the cost. The grant application deadline is in September, Mayor David Gillock said.

Also under consideration is a roundabout at Mills and Lear Nagle roads with a projected completion date of 2022 that would be done in partnership with Avon. North Ridgeville also is considering a roundabout at State Route 83 and Chestnut Ridge, Gillock said.

“That’s looking down the road, and just in early consideration,” he said. “The roundabout we’re considering now provides better safety and would help eliminate crashes. It’s a viable solution to an existing problem.”

The city paid Columbus-based American Structurepoint $154,000 for a traffic study at SR 83 and Chestnut Ridge that was conducted the first three months of this year. The city used a $112,000 grant from the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council to pay for the study.

Contact this reporter at msakal@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797

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