The first phase of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s “Gateway to the Islands” project on Route 53 and Route 2 in Portage Township, is gearing up to begin on Monday, July 24. While the majority of the plotting, planning, surveys and comment periods have been completed, ODOT officials held an open house and public meeting on Tuesday, July 11 to outline the $11 million project.
“We want to provide business owners and the public an opportunity to get answers to their questions directly from those who planned and will execute the project,” said Patrick McColley, ODOT District 2 deputy director.
The project will first create a two-way turn lane throughout the Route 53 corridor from State Road to Route 163, adding sidewalk and curb ramps. That work will begin Monday, July 24.
Then ODOT will create two roundabouts, one at the Route 53 and State Road interchange, and another at the westbound leg of Route 2 and Route 53.
Miller Brothers Construction of Archbold, Ohio is the contractor, with work scheduled for completion late next year.
“Personally, I’m not all for the project just yet, but ODOT has done studies on holiday weekends, and promises there will be fewer accidents, safer roads and an easier flow of traffic off Route 2,” said Portage Township Trustee Karl Kopchak, a Port Clinton fireman and a local construction contractor.
“I expect there will be some confusion at first, but ODOT studies show roundabouts reduce accidents. And the construction will help all of the businesses on that corridor.”
If the project makes it easier for everyone to drive into Port Clinton, it will be good for the economy,” said Port Clinton Mayor Mike Snider. “If it reduces the rear end accidents at State Road and Route 53, that will make it safer, as well. Remember that it took us 40 years to finally widen Perry Street from Maple to Buckeye streets, and that has made a big difference in alleviating accidents and traffic jams.”
Port Clinton Safety Service Director Tracy Colston pointed out that while it may take residents and visitors a while to accept the changes, “change is always difficult until you get used to it.”