Clark County to change Urbana Road as Navistar continues expansion

Clark County Engineer Johnathan Burr. Katherine Collins/Staff

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Clark County Engineer Johnathan Burr. Katherine Collins/Staff

Clark County will spend about $450,000 to make changes to portions of Urbana Road later this summer ahead of a major expansion at a local truck factory.

The Navistar assembly plant at 6125 Urbana Road already has close to 1,500 employees — making it one of Springfield’s largest employers — and could add hundreds more soon after two recent deals were announced with GM.

The new agreements call for Navistar workers to build a cutaway model of GM’s G Van and build medium-duty trucks in Springfield.

Clark County recently received about $380,000 between two state grants to do the improvements, County Engineer Johnathan Burr said.

“We’re trying to be proactive, trying to get this under control before we have accidents,” Burr said.

MORE: Navistar to add 300 jobs in Springfield with second GM deal

The Clark County-Springfield TCC will spend $18,000 to study Urbana Road between County Line Road and Ohio 344. It’s expected to be completed in a few weeks, Burr said.

“With Navistar increasing volume, trucks coming out on the roadway, more workers coming in, we just make sure we’ve got stuff in line to try to minimize accidents on that stretch of roadway,” he said.

The changes will likely include more turn lanes and fewer access points to decrease the number of places where a crash might occur, Burr said. However any changes won’t be decided until the study is completed, he said.

“What we suspect (it will include) is left- and right-hand turn lanes, which will allow the trucks to get over, vehicles to get over, so they get out of the through lanes of traffic so they can make right-hand turns and also possible left-hand turns as well,” Burr said. “We typically try to consolidate intersections so you don’t have 15 places where they’re coming out.”

The roadway currently sees between 5,000 and 6,000 cars per day near the factory, according to 2016 traffic counts by the TCC. There haven’t been many accidents on that roadway, Burr said, but crash counts were unavailable.

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“We’re trying to be out in front, knowing what’s coming with the increased production out there,” he said. “We want to make it as safe as we can.”

The traffic can be difficult to navigate once the plant ends production in the afternoon, said Brittanie Reynolds, who works across the street at Springfield Self Storage.

“When 3:30 hits around here, it is just, it’s crazy,” she said. “They’re trying to pull out and weave in and out of the traffic that’s just flying down this road.”

Reynolds has seen at least three accidents on Urbana Road near Willow Road in the past six weeks, she said.

“They’re pulling out in front of people and it’s just becoming wrecks,” Reynolds said.

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