By Kevin Kelley
Take comfort, motorists having consternation at traffic jams caused by construction work on Crocker Road just north of Interstate 90. The days of one-lane traffic should be over by the end of the month, said Westlake city engineer Bob Kelly.
In the works for more than two years, the $6 million project seeks to reduce rush-hour traffic congestion where Crocker Road intersects with I-90 and Clemens Road.
The problem, essentially, is that the Clemens-Crocker intersection is too close to the I-90 and Crocker intersection. Both intersections have traffic lights, and gridlock often results. The solution is to reroute motorists wanting to go onto the freeway farther north to two Clemens Road bypasses, thus moving them away from the congested I-90 interchange.
The project consists of several elements:
• creating Hospice Way, a largely completed road that will divert traffic coming from the direction of Bradley Road farther north on Crocker Road;
• creating a second bypass, to be known either as Bassett Road Bypass or Koyo Road, after the company located immediately south of it, to divert traffic from Hyland Software and Nordson Corp. farther north on Crocker during rush hours;
• adding traffic lights at the intersections of Crocker Road and Hospice Way, and Crocker Road and Bassett Road Bypass/Koyo Road;
• adding a lane and extending a lane to the I-90 westbound off ramp to Crocker Road to prevent traffic from backing up onto the freeway;
• adding a turning lane on Crocker Road southbound for traffic heading west onto I-90; and,
• adding a left-hand turning lane at the intersection of Bassett and the new bypass road.
In addition, restrictions will be placed on drivers’ turning options at the Clemens-Crocker intersection. For example, motorists heading west on Clemens will not be able to make a left-hand turn onto Crocker Road. The intent is for the drivers to get onto Crocker Road farther north by using the bypass road.
Curbed, raised concrete islands will also be installed along Crocker Road north of I-90 to help control traffic, Kelly said.
The entire project is slated to be completed by mid- to late October, Kelly told West Life. The new traffic signals should be up and operational by mid-September, he said.
Kelly said he’s aware motorists who frequent the area will be pleased when the construction work is completed.
An improved traffic flow in the area should enable vacant land in the area to be further developed, the city engineer said.
The state provided a $2.4 million grant for the project, with the city covering $3.6 million.
In other road construction news, plans are proceeding to widen Detroit Road along its intersection with Bradley Road, Kelly said. New utility poles are already being installed in anticipation of the widening.
The $3 million project, which will be paid for by the city, will start in February, he said. The state is providing the city with a zero-interest loan to fund the project. Traffic signals at the intersection will also be upgraded.
The city has also received $2.8 million in federal money through the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency to upgrade the traffic signals at 50 intersections in the city.
Once upgraded, the traffic signals will be connected electronically to the police and engineering departments. High-accident areas, such as the intersection of Crocker and Detroit roads, will have video cameras installed. Live video from the intersection will be monitored by police, who will be able to more quickly respond to accidents or traffic jams, Kelly said.
The traffic signalization upgrade project, which will be started in 2014 and completed the next year, will improve traffic flow throughout the city and reduce auto emissions through less idling, the city engineer said. All traffic lights will have battery backup systems so lights will not go dark during power outages.