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ODOT is finished on Route 8 -- for now

a photo of route 8 with sign
KABIR BHATIA
/
WKSU
The years-long project to resurface Route 8 in Summit County is almost complete. And now ODOT will turn its attention to the High-Level Bridge near Akron.

Since 2019, a $58 million resurfacing project has closed parts of Route 8 in Summit County. But the work is pretty much done, and the Ohio Department of Transportation is looking to its next series of projects in the area.

The work on Route 8 will resume briefly next spring for a final layer of asphalt and some striping work, slated to be finished by July. After that, one of the next large projects on the expressway will be replacement of the High Level Bridge, just north of Akron, according to ODOT Region 4 spokesman Justin Chesnic.

"It's a pretty basic job, actually, building new bridges and working offline, off to the side, so you really won't have a big maintenance or traffic problem. You'll be able to continue on through, and you'll still have three lanes of traffic in each direction."

That’s scheduled to begin in 2024, but Chesnic says it might start sooner if the funding comes through. Another project being designed – for 2023 – will widen I-77.

"We're going to be widening I-77 pretty much from Ghent Rd. all the way up to the Cuyahoga County line. That northern part of Summit County is two lanes in each direction. So, we're going to widen that out. That's going to take a couple of years. It's going to be two different projects, but we're working on obtaining the funding for that and we're pretty close."

Chesnic adds that a $160 million reconstruction of the Akron Beltway began earlier this year. It’s the largest project in the history of Region 4.

“It’s reconstructing the pavement on I-77 and I-76 from basically Vernon Odom Blvd. -- which is State Route 261 -- all the way over to where our main Broadway project was completed last year. That's a decent chunk of pavement there, but then we're also replacing the pavement on I-77 from the central interchange, all the way down to US 224. That's another four to five miles of pavement that's getting completely replaced. And then as well as part of that project, if you're traveling on I-76 at State Route 8, you have those left-hand ramps that you use there. That's I-76 east to Route 8 north, and I-76 west to I-77 south. Both of those ramps are sharp, severe angle ramps where you have to reduce your traffic down to about 25 miles an hour. We've had some crashes there and it caused some congestion, so we're completely reconstructing and building new fly over bridges there. That will allow folks to travel 35-40 miles an hour. That should really help traffic flow and improve safety.”

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.