For such a big project the Summit Street Improvement Project is off to a quiet start — with most of the work this Fall focusing on relocating the utilities that are located outside of the roadway.
But don’t be deceived, once the road work starts, it’s going to make a lot more noise — both literally in terms of the excavation equipment but probably more significantly, figuratively in terms of the impacts of taking the most heavily traveled and most congested 2-way street in Portage County and cutting it in half for 2 years.
The project is needed because all that car, truck, bike and pedestrian traffic is jamming each other up and creating the kinds of unsafe conditions that just can’t be ignored — but those same heavy doses of cars, trucks, bikes and pedestrians make fixing the street a traffic engineer’s nightmare. Welcome to the Summit Street Improvement Project.
With so many logistical challenges wrapped up in this project, there are a lot of smart people working behind the scenes to plan for and anticipate as many contingencies as possible. They understand that there’s no way to make this project pain free — but they want to make sure there’s as little collateral frustrations as possible.
They think a lot of the collateral frustrations can be minimized — and hopefully avoided — as long as drivers, bikers and walkers can stay current on what’s happening in that corridor so they can make their plans accordingly.
In a perfect world, the traffic engineers would love to tell everyone to stay out of the corridor for 2 years to make room for all of the construction work but with the front door of Ohio’s second largest campus located in the middle of the project — that ain’t happening.
The goal, then, is to channel all those different modes of traffic in ways that lets everyone co-exist as peacefully and safely as possible while the project goes-on around them.
Construction has lots of moving parts and is changeable — both planned and unplanned. The challenge is providing the flexibility the construction crews need to handle the day to day surprises while ensuring enough continuity for the people to stay out of harm’s way that have no choice but to travel in this corridor.
Getting travelers trained is critical to such a large project and when you mix in a lot of relatively young and less experienced drivers that training takes on even more importance.
With information and education in mind, the project managers have put another resource on the web for people to use — consider it their version of on-line education — to stay current on the project.
Here’s the link to the project web site
The web site offers a portal into the world of the Summit Street project — with opportunities to ask questions and give feedback throughout the duration of the project.
I’m trying to do my part and push this kind of information out to the public. For more background information, here’s a couple of previous project posts: