The Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study has updated its recommendations for improving roads and mass transit in the greater Akron area for the next 23 years.
Transportation Outlook 2040 is now recommending more than $5 .5 billion be spent on highway infrastructure. The plan also recommends more than $2 billion in public transportation benefits and $33 million for bike and pedestrian transportation.
Director Curtis Baker says the new plan emphasizes preserving existing infrastructure instead of expanding it.
“We’re not really growing very quickly; preserving the existing system is, by far, more important. We’re not in a situation where we can build a highway and then hope that development will follow it. What we’re really looking at now is focusing on maintaining what we have.”
Baker's group has released a list highlighting construction projects aimed at improving transportation in Summit and Portage counties over the next four years.
Some notable projects include upgrading traffic signals in Streetsboro with fiber optics and improving Akron’s Main Street Corridor.
One of the most costly is replacing pavement on State Route 8 in Hudson and Stow at a price-tag of almost $54 million.
Baker says that all these projects are scheduled to receive federal funding and most have already started.
“When you actually look through the document, what you’ll see projects that are scheduled for construction in 2018 or there’s some projects that are scheduled for engineering in 2018 with construction in 2020. It’s really showing the public the schedule for when projects with federal dollars take place.”