Portage to discuss impact of I-75 work PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 02 December 2013 10:17
PORTAGE - Concerns about how the upcoming widening project on Interstate 75 could affect traffic on Ohio 25 will be the main topic at tonight's village council meeting.
"This meeting is more to keep a line of communication open," said Portage Mayor Mark Wolford this morning.
A third lane for I-75 is to be constructed starting in the spring as part of a $3 billion investment of Ohio Turnpike funds into the state's transportation system.
The $196 million I-75 widening plan will extend from Findlay to the Toledo area. The project has been moved up more than 13 years ahead of its original start date - it was originally to begin in 2027.
An Ohio Department of Transportation event this summer indicated that at least two lanes will be kept open on I-75 throughout construction, with most of the work taking place in the median.
"Basically we're concerned with that's going to happen when they work on 75," said Wolford, noting that in the past semi trucks have used Route 25, which runs through the middle of town, to bypass the interstate.
"How much traffic are we going to be having coming through Portage? We've lost our traffic light, we don't have the police department anymore, and anytime there's an accident on 75, we can't get out of Portage without going on back roads because there's so much traffic coming through town."
Wolford noted that, during such times, residents can have difficulty getting out of their driveways, "and we have a lot of old buildings in town that are right up by the roads, so our sights are not so good, getting out of those side roads."
"We're trying to be proactive and get to this before it gets here," he said later. "I know the project isn't going to start 'til March."
ODOT will be sending representatives to the meeting, and State Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), the Wood County Sheriff's Office, Wood Lane, Portage Township, Central Joint Fire District, Mid-County Ambulance and others that could be affected have been invited to send representatives.
"We're hoping that this meeting goes well and everybody gets informed and our questions are answered," said Wolford.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the village hall, located at 110 W. Walnut St.

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