April 18, 2014

Elyria
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Abbe Road widening planned

Abbe Road widening plans.

Abbe Road widening plans.

SHEFFIELD — The village has a $3.1 million plan to widen Abbe Road from four to six lanes north of Hoag Drive around the Cobblestone Square shopping center to just north of Detroit Road.

The area is legendary for traffic snarls and has the most accidents of any location in Sheffield, Mayor John Hunter said.

Much of Abbe Road in that area now is four lanes, although there are turn lanes in some portions of the roadway, he said.

The plan includes widening Abbe from four to five lanes for 568 feet in Elyria from the northern drive into Lorain County Community College to the city’s border with Sheffield.

An 8- to 10-foot-wide bike path will be built on the east side of Abbe from the northern LCCC entrance to Hoag Drive, where it will follow Hoag Drive into the commercial and residential development including the Village Meadows development for seniors, Superior Medical Center and the Ohio Institute of Health Careers.

On the west side, a new 6-foot-wide sidewalk will run all of the way from the northern LCCC entrance to Detroit Road.
The plan calls for two left-turn lanes from northbound Abbe to westbound Detroit Road to alleviate bottlenecks at the intersection and there will be crosswalks in all four directions at the intersection, Hunter said.

The widening would extend 200 feet north of Detroit Road and provide for better access to the shopping center that includes Giant Eagle.

A new traffic light would be installed at the Abbe Road entrance to Cobblestone near Petrucci’s Ice Cream because traffic studies show there is enough volume to warrant it, Hunter said.

Lorain County Community College is very pleased with the plans because of the “tremendous growth” at LCCC, according to Marcia Ballinger, LCCC’s vice president of strategic and institutional development.

“In a decade, we have gone from about 7,000 students to 16,000 students,” Ballinger said. “We’re delighted with the plans.”

Hunter said he has lined up grants for all but about $300,000 of the project in the village and that cost can be spread over 10 years thanks to a no-interest loan program operated by Lorain County Engineer Ken Carney.

LCCC President Roy A. Church agreed to donate the right-of-way for the bike path, and the sidewalks will be built in the current right-of-way, Hunter said.

The project could begin next year, following final approval from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and be completed in 2011, Hunter said.

Elyria City Council’s Utilities, Safety and Environmental Committee discussed taking part in the widening project on Wednesday night and several Council members expressed concern about any additional costs when Elyria is trying to carve more than $4 million from its budget.

The city’s share of the $3.1 million project would include some $35,450 for engineering and $83,600 for construction, according to city Engineer Mukund Moghe.

Hunter said Elyria also could utilize Carney’s no-interest loan program to help pay for its share.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.