Port authority, ODOT partner for Ohio 795 corridor study - Sentinel-Tribune: Home

Port authority, ODOT partner for Ohio 795 corridor study

By Debbie Rogers, Sentinel-Tribune Editor | Posted: Monday, August 5, 2019 1:00 pm

PERRYSBURG — A county and state agency are partnering to hire a consultant to study improvements to the Ohio 795 corridor.

Rex Huffman, attorney for the Wood County Port Authority, said the study is necessary to accommodate the thousands of employees expected to work in the Lake, Perrysburg and Troy townships area and Rossford.

The port authority voted at a meeting last week to put $150,000 toward hiring a consultant for the study. The Ohio Department of Transportation has also pledged $150,000, Huffman said.

“I’m excited that all these parties are willing to participate and the port authority can play a role in getting them together. This is typical Wood County, we all work together,” he said.

The Ohio Controlling Board must approve the partnership, Huffman said.

“It’s going to take us a few weeks, if not months, to get a consultant selected,” he said, adding that a consultant could be hired by Oct. 1.

He expects it will take three to six months for the consultant to come back with a safety analysis.

“There are certainly things that need to be improved in that corridor,” Huffman said.

Lake Township Trustee Jeff Pettit said he is looking forward to improvements in the area.

“I’m definitely happy,” he said, adding that he has seen increased traffic and flow problems on U.S. 20 and Route 795.

“I’ve never liked (Route) 20, it being two lanes, all the way into Stony Ridge,” he said. “I try to avoid it.

“(Route) 795 has always been the go-to route, but I feel like it’s increased unbelievably lately,” Pettit said. “I can’t image with First Solar and Walgreens, what it’s going to bring to 795.”

First Solar, which has a campus in Perrysburg Township, is opening a new plant just down the road on Route 795 in Lake Township this fall. It has 1,300 employees currently and is expected to add 500.

Walgreens is expected to add 350 jobs with an expansion of its facility, which is across Route 795 from the First Solar main campus. Also, in the area, NSG Glass North America Pilkington is building a 500,000-square-foot plant in Troy Township that will employ 150.

“You also have Amazon in the works. I always like 795 because it was easy to travel, but I’m not certain that’s going to continue,” Pettit said. “I feel like the locals will take back roads.”

Amazon, it was confirmed last month, is building a fulfillment center in the Crossroads area of Rossford, and is expected to employ 1,000.

Huffman said there’s a lot of speculation about how things can be improved in the corridor. The corridor is bounded by Interstate 75 on the west; Wales Road to the north; Interstate 280 on the east; and Route 20 to the south.

For example, both he and Pettit mentioned the exodus of First Solar employees at the end of the work day who have to turn right on Route 795, travel three lanes to the Oregon Road intersection to make a U-turn onto westbound 795 to access I-75.

“We have to have somebody study that and not a lawyer,” Huffman said. “I just hope what we gain from this is a coordination of improvement.”

He said that the state, Ohio Turnpike, county, townships and municipalities will all be able to coordinate road improvements “so we can get a bigger bang for our buck.

“I think we’re on top of it. Instead of waiting for problems to manifest themselves, we’re out on top of it,” Huffman said. “We plan to include all of the political subdivisions in that area as partners in the study as well.”

Pettit said he appreciates the study and cooperation.

“All this growth is great, but hopefully we’ll be able to handle it,” he said.