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Economy and Business


Canton highways back on ODOT's list of economically vital roadways
City business leaders lobbied to get I-77 south of Canton, and Rt. 30 east of Canton, back into the "Access 2040" plan, saying traffic from oil and gas exploration will increase in the future
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


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Kabir Bhatia
 
In The Region:
Two Northeast Ohio highways are being upgraded in the Ohio Department of Transportation's 2040 plan, with an eye toward increased traffic related to oil and gas drilling. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports.
Canton highways back on ODOT's list of economically vital roadways

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After a fierce lobbying campaign by Stark County’s business community and Gov. John Kasich, ODOT has added I-77 south of Canton to its list of national highway corridors. And Route 30 east of Canton has been upgraded to statewide status. 

All of which means the roads are still part of the state’s “Strategic Transportation System,” and more likely to get funds for additional lanes and other upgrades. And that means I-77 and Route 30 are recognized as still vital to Ohio’s economy. Dave Kaminski directs energy policy for the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“We believe that 30 going east is only going to get busier as the oil and gas fields develop. But furthermore, we’re asking people to think about the potential in economic and business growth if we had a much more efficient, direct route to the Pittsburgh market from Canton.”

The first step in that plan is an $80 million re-routing of 30 from Canton to Rt. 44 near East Canton. In January, ODOT said it is seeking $10 million to finish engineering work on that project. By mid-April, the Stark County coalition hopes to present a funding plan to the state to extend the highway out even further, to Route 11 near Ohio’s eastern border.
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