Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018
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Transportation

Sylvania officials seek to reduce crashes around U.S. 23 interchange

  • Monroe-Street-interchange

    The U.S. 23 interchange at Monroe Street in Sylvania, as seen from a drone on Oct. 9, 2018. City officials are considering modifying the junction as part of upcoming ODOT work to replace the deck on Monroe's bridge over the freeway and rebuild a bridge on the northbound exit ramp (foreground) that is on a crash-prone curve.

  • ALEXIS-MONROE-ACRES-TRIANGLE

    A Sylvania city consultant's recommendations for modifying the Monroe Street interchange on U.S. 23 include eliminating this triangle of intersections in favor of having Alexis Road (top) arc toward Monroe west of the Dave White automobile dealership.

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Sylvania officials hope to ease congestion and reduce crashes around their city’s main travel gateway — the Monroe Street interchange on U.S. 23 — as part of a project they’ll discuss during an “open house” session next week.

Two alternatives that city planners have identified for modifying the interchange both involve redirecting Alexis Road to a four-way intersection with Monroe and one or both of northbound U.S. 23’s ramps at the interchange.

The interchange intersections on Monroe have some of Sylvania’s worst traffic congestion and also are accident prone. Jean Hartline, a senior engineer with Mannik & Smith Group, said the northbound ramp intersection on Monroe had 60 crashes during a recent three-year period while the southbound intersection had 44.

Ms. Hartline also said crashes on the northbound exit ramp, which has a sharp curve at its bridge over the Ottawa River, are likely underreported based on the number of scuffs and scars on a concrete barrier wall there.

WATCH: A look at the crash-prone exit from U.S. 23

The proposals to be submitted for public review and comment during the meeting Tuesday also include several options for modifying Monroe’s intersection with Glasgow Drive and the southbound ramps. City officials also plan to slightly widen Monroe west of U.S. 23 to Harroun Road and modify its intersections at Harroun and the entrance to a Kroger supermarket east of Harroun.

The session is scheduled to run from 4 to 6 p.m. in Sylvania City Council Chambers at 6635 Maplewood Ave.

No formal presentation will be given, but maps and other exhibits detailing project planning will be on display. Representatives of the city, its consultants, and the Ohio Department of Transportation will be present.

Ms. Hartline told city council in June that now is the time for Sylvania to look at the Monroe interchange because ODOT plans to replace the deck on Monroe’s bridge over U.S. 23 in 2021 and replace a bridge on the northbound U.S. 23 exit ramp there several years later.

“You can build portions of the interchange over years as funding is available,” she said.

ODOT is expected to soften or eliminate the sharp curve when it replaces the ramp bridge.

During the council discussion Kevin Aller, Sylvania’s director of public service, said he favors a layout that places the northbound exit and entrance ramps and Alexis at a common intersection with Monroe because that eliminates two of four stoplights within 1,200 feet of each other in the area.

The other option calls for the northbound exit ramp to fork, with traffic headed for Alexis and eastbound Monroe branching to the right and traffic headed to westbound Monroe to the left. An intersection just west of Monroe’s bridge over U.S. 23 would handle those westward motorists as well as the entrance ramp to the northbound freeway.

Either option would change Acres Road’s current full access to Monroe and Alexis to a right-in, right-out intersection with Alexis.

Mr. Aller acknowledged “a little bit of a situation” there for local traffic on Acres, but said the inconvenience of driving to nearby Elliott Drive for left turns will be fairly minor.

Mannik & Smith’s timetable calls for a formal report to be made to the city next month.

Contact David Patch at dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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