BEAVER TWP., Ohio (WYTV) – A new Interstate 680 ramp is coming to help relieve congestion at the Western Reserve Road exit.
Come rush hour, traffic at the Western Reserve exit off I-680 is almost at a standstill.
“I drive here every morning. We work in Pittsburgh and there’s always a lot of congestion around here, especially if there’s any road construction,” said Sean Bukovac, of Youngstown.
Ron Potesta, also of Youngstown, said the traffic is “horrible.”
“I think a lot of people are trying to find ways to avoid the area as much as possible right now.”
It’s the last free interchange on 680, making it a popular exit.
The Ohio Department of Transportation conducted numerous safety studies in that spot over the years.
“There’s been 11 accidents at that interchange over the last several years,” said Rep. John Boccieri (D – 59th District).
ODOT was also concerned with congestion overflow pouring onto the freeway.
Based on the findings, ODOT and state legislators are planning a new ramp off State Route 164. They plan to widen 164 and build a roundabout at the north end of State Route 626 in North Lima.
The new exit ramp should improve southern traffic flow by reducing congestion at the Western Reserve Road exit.
“It’s my understanding that ODOT has all of the funding in place and also the engineering studies should be fairly complete, so I’d like to see this expedited, just for safety reasons,” Boccieri said.
The project was approved for construction beginning this July with the 2018 fiscal year. It will cost $6.5 million and take several months to build. Drivers in that area will have to find alternative routes in the meantime.
“People will have to use Market Street or back roads to go south but like everything, you just have to bite the bullet for a while to see the improvement in the end,” said Beaver Township Police Chief Carl Frost.
Bukovac said it will be well worth it once the project is done.