U.S. 224 construction affects businesses

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Although many of the regulars are still showing up for coffee and conversation at the Dunkin’ Donuts on U.S. Route 224 near Interstate 680, other businesses in the area said they’ve seen a decrease in customers since a major construction project began.

“We’ve had to cut our workers’ hours,” said Dunkin’ Donuts manager Sam Bovo. “They’ve dropped from 40 to 30 and it’s affecting them too.”

Over the next six weeks, workers will be installing new culverts along 224 while also building a new off-ramp for traffic coming from 680 southbound in hopes of reducing the number of accidents.

“There will be a traffic signal there,” said Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Justin Chesnic. “They’ll stop when. When the light’s green, they can actually make a right turn and get on to U.S. 224 that way.”

Until the project is finished, motorists will contend with just one lane in each direction.

“I live in Poland, so I go around,” said customer Ed Rubicky. “I used to come straight here from the center of Poland. I just go around. It takes me an extra five minutes but you have to be patient.”

Managers of other businesses think the improvements will actually make it easier for customers to get to them from I-680.

“It’s hard to cut across three lanes and get to turn left here,” said Nicolini’s co-owner Stephanie Lavanty. “It’s definitely going to help in that aspect of having that light there for them to get off way easier for everybody.”

Construction will shut down in October for the winter months and resume again in the spring, when the bridge over I-680 will be replaced.

“We just have to appreciate that it’s not worse  than it is,” said Inner Circle’s Steve Queen. “And when it’s done it’s going to be great.”

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