Route 224 construction causes grief for emergency vehicles

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — The construction zone on Route 224 at Interstate 680 has created headaches for many motorists, trying to get where they need to go in that area.

The Ohio Department of Transportation’s $5.8 million bridge widening project is expected to done in October. But now that school’s out, and the busy summer driving season has hit, people are being urged to pay extra attention, and be extra patient through the stretch.

“I sat for a half hour, and made it from 170 to the post office is all the further I got,” said Boardman Fire Chief George Brown.

Brown indicated that since school let out, there’s even more traffic backed up around the construction zone at U.S. Route 224 and Interstate 680.

On Wednesday afternoon, our cameras caught a fire truck and ambulance weaving their way through the cars.

“If the cars have nowhere to go, then they can’t move for the emergency vehicles, so again, to be in accordance with the law it’s important that they keep the intersections clear, and maybe wait until the next light,” said Brown.

At the intersection of Tiffany Boulevard and Route 224, it’s common to see vehicles stack up in the middle of the intersection when the light turns red, making it difficult for cars to then turn on to Route 224 in either direction. Boardman police and fire officials said construction or not, that type of driving is always against the law.

Resident Lance Costello said it’s easier for him to walk to work, from his home on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It’ll take you like an hour to get down here in construction, it takes me like 10 minutes to get to work walking, so I figured save the money and save the hassle,” said Costello.

However, Costello said from first-hand experience, walk along Route 224 at your own risk.

“Someone smacked into me and yelled at me, and blew the horn at me for walking, it’s like they’re surprised seeing people walking, for some reason,” said Costello.

Brown said if people stay patient, and share the road with pedestrians and emergency vehicles, everyone will get where they’re going safely.

“Most people travel those intersections day in and day out, so they know what the conditions are, they just have to plan for it, or pick an alternative route,” said Brown.

Boardman Police Chief Jack Nichols and Lt. Nakia Hendricks with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, will hold a press conference Thursday afternoon at the intersection of Route 224 and South Avenue. Nichols said the goal is to educate drivers and let them know they can, and will be ticketed, for failing to clear an intersection by the time the light turns red.

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