Big changes could be coming to one of Springfield's most complaint-laden roads if city officials vote in favor of plans for Derr Road on Friday.

Final vote expected Friday on Derr Road project in Springfield

An engineering consulting firm has recommended a plan for the future of one of the busiest streets in Springfield and a final vote on the the plan is scheduled for Friday.

Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck said American Structurepoint has recommended changing Derr Road into a five-lane roadway with a dedicated left turn lane and multi-use path on the east side of the road within the existing right-of-way — presented to the public previously as Alternative 4.

Alternative 4 now moves to the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee and the Ohio Department of Transportation for final approval.

If it is approved, the wheels on the project can start turning.

“They would start immediately into design work so we have essentially a construction document that could be bid sometime late 2020,” Heck said.

The TCC is scheduled to vote on the plan for Derr Road at a regularly scheduled meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

Derr Road sees between 10,000 and 15,000 vehicles every day.

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“This is an area that has a high crash rate, higher than the statewide average in several areas,” said Heck. “The goal is to improve the safety of the corridor vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.”

In December, the city presented the public with four ‘alternatives’ that included options such as reducing the street to one lane in both directions in order to implement bike paths or adding a turn lane and creating a multipurpose path.

Under Alternative 4, two lanes will remain in each direction for through traffic and a dedicated left turn lane would be added to the section of Derr Road between Home Road and Providence.

The roadway cross section will resemble Derr Road between Providence and Villa, where the road is already constructed as five-lane section, according to Heck.

The project will also add missing sections of sidewalk to make a continuous path.

People who live on Derr Road said they were happy to learn that the City was taking steps toward this option.

“I believe I could live with that 100 percent — I really do,” said Larry Zorn.

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Zorn and his wife, Debbie Zorn, were glad to know that the plan included a left turn lane. They said sometimes it’s difficult to even get to their house with the current traffic set up.

The project also includes repaving the worn roadway. Debbie Zorn said her and her husband constantly wake up in the middle of the night when a semi truck hits a big rut.

“It was getting the road redone — what made me happy more than what they were going to do with it,” Debbie Zorn said.

Their neighbor, William Miller, had been pulling for alternative four because he felt like it was a win for everyone involved.

“There are times when it seems like the only way we can get out of the driveway is to maneuver into that inside lane,” he said. “Putting in that turn lane is going to be a huge plus for us. So I have to sacrifice some frontage to accommodate the bike path, I’m good with that.”

In order for the city to receive state help with funding for the street reconstruction, the city had to look for ways to help reduce congestion and promote cleaner travel options, such as bicycles.

The City of Springfield intends to break the project into two phases if it is approved.

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The first phase will include road improvements from Home Road to Providence, the addition of the multi-use shared path from Home Road to Villa and filling in the missing sidewalk, according to Heck.

The second phase would be to reconstruct the portion of the roadway from Providence to Villa.

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