A stretch of Ohio 235 considered one of the most hazardous roads in Clark County is expected to get about $2.5 million in safety improvements.
Ohio Department of Transportation District 7 officials have released plans to consolidate driveways, add sidewalks, install street lights and upgrade traffic signals along the corridor between Gerlaugh and Dille roads. The plans also call for adding a bike path.
Details about the changes will be discussed by ODOT and the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Transportation Coordinating Committee at a 4 p.m. April 17 public meeting at Park Layne Elementary, 12355 Dille Road.
The plans could be altered based on feedback from residents and businesses at the meeting. Some businesses have expressed concern that closing driveways could limit access.
“We’re a public entity and we always try to include the public when we can … Those are the people who live there and travel those roads,” said Mandi Dillon, an ODOT spokeswoman.
ODOT and TCC hosted a public meeting in 2012 in which they showed maps of proposed changes to the road. They also presented a video that showed problem areas along the corridor and near-miss accidents.
Several fatal and severe injury collisions have occurred along Ohio 235, which averages about 11,660 vehicles per day, according to TCC Director Scott Schmid.
Four pedestrians were killed after being struck by vehicles along the road between 2007 and 2010.
Those killed were Jonathan Gibson, Larry Downs, Yuezhuo Zheng and Audrey Williams.
In September 2012, Elizabeth Radcliff was killed along the corridor when her vehicle was struck by a southbound vehicle as she pulled out of the McDonald’s.
The number of crashes has declined since 2010, when there were 26 accidents. In 2011, there were 20 crashes and then in 2012, there were 21. Last year, 18 crashes occurred along the roadway, including a serious injury crash when two cars collided in the center turn lane near Speedway.
The crashes are often the result of driver error, but studies show the road also lacks crosswalks, pedestrian signals and signs, and has too many entrances and exits that cause backups and safety problems.
“It was not designed years and years ago to carry as much traffic and have as many access points as it does. It presents difficulty in getting back and forth across the road,” Schmid said.
Schmid said the changes should make the corridor safer.
Changes to the road include a new access road connecting North Business Way to McDonald’s and future developments.
Officials will also close Hocker Avenue at Ohio 235, also known as Dayton-Lakeview Road, creating a single access point to McAdams Drive in front of Fulmer’s Market.
In addition, up to 20 driveways may be eliminated or modified to streamline entrances and exits to Dayton-Lakeview Road.
Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2016.
Ranchers Roast Beef Manager Pat Smiley said law enforcement officers need to enforce the 45 mph speed limit.
Employees have heard about the potential changes, Smiley said, and are concerned it could result in blocking two driveways that lead to the restaurant. That would leave only one driveway, which currently serves as an exit.
“If they block both driveways, they won’t be able to go through our drive-through. They would have to go through the entrance that’s now the exit and make a turnaround to get to the drive-through,” she said.
Those changes would impact business, she said.
“People are not going to do a rodeo to get to the drive-through,” Smiley said.
How to Go
What: Ohio 235 open house
When: 4 p.m. April 17
Where: Park Layne Elementary School in student dining area, 12355 Dille Road, New Carlisle
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has followed state and local efforts to improve Ohio 235 for years, covering numerous crashes along the road, interviewing relatives of those killed, attending public forums and monitoring the results of studies identifying problem areas along the road.