LIMA — Drivers traveling both northbound and southbound on Thayer Road in Allen County will soon have just one option if they plan to exit onto U.S. 30.
Motorists on U.S. 30 will also see some dramatic changes to traffic patterns, perhaps as early as next week, as they approach the crossroad. It’s all part of a $2.3 million project aimed at making the intersection — the site of several fatal or near-fatal traffic accidents in recent years — less prone to vehicular mishaps.
Chris Hughes, District 1 Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, was joined Wednesday by Lt. Tim Grigsby, commander of the Lima post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, to formally unveil a restricted crossing U-turn pattern, or RCUT, at the intersection.
The RCUT, the first of its kind in Northwest Ohio, brings to an end left turns at the intersection and instead forces westbound drivers on U.S. 30 who want to go south on Thayer Road to travel 650 feet past the intersection to a designated U-turn lane. The same applies to eastbound motorists on U.S. 30 seeking to head north at the intersection. Motorists who desire to continue straight on Thayer Road will also be required to go 650 feet to the U-turn lanes on the federal highway.
Grigsby said Thayer Road, between U.S. 30 and state Route 117, is one of the most heavily-traveled roadways in Allen County, with up to 800 semi-trucks traveling the road daily. Many of those vehicles are en route to the P&G distribution facility, he said.
By reducing the options at the intersection with U.S. 30, Hughes said industry experts predict a 70% reduction in fatal accidents and a 40% reduction in injury crashes overall.
“This design doesn’t eliminate any access to either roadway, it just allows access in a safer manner,” the ODOT district director said. “The RCUT is a good fit for this location. We think this is going to improve safety and traffic flow at the intersection.”
Only the installation of signage and lighting remain before the new traffic pattern is opened to traffic. Hughes had hoped that would come this week, but said Wednesday that delays in the supply chain have prevented lights and signs from arriving on site.
Hughes said the project was made possible by funds made available through the ODOT Highway Safety Program, which provides $158 million annually to finance projects that lead to enhanced safety for motorists.
“This project is the culmination of a lot of different agencies working together to cut down on the number of serious injury crashes that were occurring here,” Grigsby said.