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ODOT continues to look for ways to improve Akron Beltway's road safety

map of Akron Beltway Improvement Project
Ohio Department of Transportation
The Ohio Department of Transportation continues to looks for ways to improve the Akron beltway. This is a map of the Akron Beltway Improvement Project.

There are questions whether recent changes from construction to the Akron Beltway may be making traveling through the area less safe.

Ray Marsch is the Ohio Department of Transportation’s public information officer for parts of Northeast Ohio, including Akron. He says ODOT is always looking for trouble spots and ways to improve the flow of traffic and safety.

The Ohio Department of Transportation Ray Marsch
Looking for possible changes

“We have a team here that drives the zone every single day on the Akron Beltway, and we’re looking for potential things that we might be able to upgrade," Marsch said. "Some things that our crews look out for is potentially like tire marks that people may be slamming on their breaks in certain areas.”

In December, Marsch says ODOT added pavement shield tattoos that indicate what lane to be in and digital message boards that communicate lane changes. He says it takes about two weeks for motorists to become comfortable with changes in traffic patterns.

The Ohio Department of Transportation Ray Marsch
Getting used to new traffic patterns

“It’s always the first two weeks or so with any project, specifically a project the size of the Akron Beltway project, it takes motorists a little bit to get used to it, simply because they’re driving a different pattern that they’ve had," he said.

Marsch says there are two more changes happening this week: Ramps from state Route 59 to Interstate 76 West will be closed, and the ramp from I-76 West to East Avenue will be closed.

Abigail Bottar is a junior at Kent State University. She is pursuing a major in political science with a concentration in American politics and minors in history and women's studies. Additionally, Abigail is starting her second semester copy editing for The Burr.