A history of violent vehicle crashes is among the reasons for the planned lane reconfiguration on Route 14 on Falcon Hill, the section of road just southeast of Lake Rockwell in Streetsboro, at the border with Ravenna Township.
Because the $1.197 million project is going to be funded by the Ohio Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Improvement Program, including both federal and state money, the city of Streetsboro will bear no cost in the project, according to Mayor Glenn Broska.
According to ODOT District 4, the northwest bound two-lane section will be reduced to a single lane, and left-turn lanes will be added at the intersections with Lake Rockwell and Price roads.
The southeast-bound two-lane section will be extended an additional 760 feet southeast past Lake Rockwell Road, according to ODOT.
In addition, Ray Marsch, public information officer for ODOT’s District 4 office, said the area will be resurfaced. He said the project length is about 3,800 feet long, extending along Route 14 1,000 feet north of Price Road and 1,800 feet south of Lake Rockwell Road.
Broska said impatient drivers hitting the two-lane sections of Route 14 have led to bad accidents in the past, including one in which a driver hit 106 mph trying to pass another motorist.
“People are crappy drivers," said Broska. “They come around the corner at the bottom of the hill, and they want to get around the car in front of them. That is basically what happened with a fatal we had up there. Someone accelerated around the car in front when it hit two lanes and hit a truck turning on to Price or Lake Rockwell Road.”
He said having left-turn lanes would have at least reduced the likelihood of that accident since the truck was struck from behind by the motorist.
"The impact of that crash was enough to dislodge the rear duals on a dump truck," he added.
Streetsboro Police Lt. Rich Polivka said the Falcon Hill section of Route 14 is dangerous. Since 2008, there have been 143 crashes in that area, and, of those, five have been fatal and 10 were “defined in the crash reports as a serious injuries.”
“All of us here have felt that is a bad area,” said Polivka. “I do think it’s a construction project whose time has been coming.”
He said adding left-turn lanes should help reduce accidents at the Price Road and Lake Rockwell Road intersections with Route 14. There have been a lot of assured clear distance accidents in which someone has rear-ended a vehicle turning on to one of those roads.
“For fatals, it seems high to me when you consider in Streetsboro we might have one fatal [crash] a year, maybe,” he said.
Marsch said a safety study using 2014-18 crash data confirmed some of the Streetsboro Police Department's data, indicating the area. During those years, there were an average of 11 to 12 crashes annually.
"The crash analysis performed found higher frequency patterns of sideswipe crashes occurring mainly within the four- to two-lane transition areas, higher severity rear-end crashes due to vehicles slowing or stopping in the inside lanes to turn left at the Price or Lake Rockwell intersections, in addition to three head-on crashes due to vehicles straying left of center into oncoming traffic," he said.
Since 2018, those crash patterns continued and include two more fatal crashes, he added.
"The most recent, occurring in 2021, involved a southbound driver swerving left of center to avoid a truck stopped to turn left onto Lake Rockwell Road, then running into an oncoming northbound vehicle," said Marsch.
Marsch said the project will be bid out next January and construction will take place in 2023.
Until Feb. 6, the public may comment on the project by contacting Brian Peck, environmental specialist for ODOT District 4, at Brian.email@example.com or by calling 330-786-4931.
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This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Reducing serious crashes on SR 14 among goals of lane reconfiguration