Local businesses fight road safety proposal

Posted at 9:28 PM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 21:28:46-04

After a slew of accidents on a five-mile stretch of State Route 18 in Medina County, 476 crashes and nine deaths since 2008, the Ohio Department of Transportation wants to do something about it. 

Local businesses are pushing back, because they believe ODOT's plan will hurt them. 

Julie Bennett's family has had a business off State Route 18 for years. Bennett told NewsChannel 5 she is worried about ODOT's proposed plan to make the road safer. 

"They want to put a guard rail down the center, with rumble strips on each side and rumble strips on the edge," she said. 

The proposed guard rail would be installed in the middle of the road, for a five-mile stretch, to prevent accidents. 

Bennett is worried it will prevent customers too. 

"It will inconvenience people to the point where they don't want to stop here, maybe not even go down this route," Bennett said.

Bennett believes there are other solutions to the problem, that won't hurt local business.

"They could lower the speed limit. Maybe get some law enforcement out here," Bennett said.

NewsChannel 5 asked Joyce Miller, with the Ohio Department of Transportation, if lowering the speed limit is an option.

She said it's not.

"We cannot lower the speed limit. The law does not justify that," Miller said. 

Miller said this stretch of road is considered dangerous by the state. There have been 476 crashes and 9 deaths here since 2008. She said ODOT has to do something. 

"We have an obligation to the taxpayers, to the motorists, in Ohio, to do something in terms of safety," Miller said. 

ODOT held a public meeting, just recently, to hear concerns about the proposed project. 
Hundreds of people showed up, for and against the guardrail.

Miller said ODOT is still in the planning stages for this road project, and feedback from the public is important. 

"That's really why we are having these talks early on. The project has not yet been designed. We are hoping to get feedback," she said.