The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will hold a public meeting next week on proposed changes to two crash-prone intersections on state Route 309.
The agency has proposed two options for the Route 309 intersections at Thayer Road and Napoleon Road, which may either be converted into single-lane roundabouts or widened to add left turn lanes.
According to ODOT, there were 33 crashes at Thayer Road and Route 309 and another 19 crashes at Napoleon Road and Route 309 between 2016-2018, about 40% of which resulted in serious injuries or fatalities.
ODOT found that most of the crashes were caused by vehicles failing to yield to oncoming traffic. And a majority of those crashes involved drivers who were younger than 20 or older than 65 years-old.
While the agency will accept public comment later this month, ODOT Deputy Director Chris Hughes said the agency considers the roundabout option as the safest alternative for each intersection because it would force drivers to slow down, which in turn makes it easier to judge the speed of oncoming traffic.
“It gives people more chance to react to the traffic because it’s moving a lot slower,” Hughes said. “Also, because of that lower speed, the severity of any crashes that do happen are greatly reduced.”
The agency will share its findings with the public at 6 p.m. next Wednesday, Jan. 22, in the cafeteria at Allen East High School. A 30-day public comment period will follow, after which ODOT will make its decision and begin the design and right-a-way acquisition phase.
This isn’t the first time ODOT has studied the Thayer and Napoleon Road intersections, which have been subject to numerous reviews since the late 1990s.
A 2006 ODOT study, for example, suggested adding left turn lanes at both intersections to reduce rear-end crashes, but there was not enough funding to pursue either project at the time.
The agency has also considered installing traffic signals at both intersections but concluded neither intersection had enough traffic to merit a signal.
Funding should be available this time around, as Governor Mike DeWine has set aside an additional $50 million in gasoline tax revenue to upgrade dangerous roads and intersections like the two just outside Lima.
If the projects proceed, construction is tentatively slated to start in 2022.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.