NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – Work has started on state Route 5 in Braceville to fix the road after a sinkhole appeared, but it could be several weeks before it is back open to traffic.
Route 5 is one of the main roads used by ambulances in Newton Falls to transport people to the hospital. Now that it is shut down, it could take more time to get there, costing those in an emergency precious minutes.
Newton Falls Fire Chief Richard Bauman said he has been working with Braceville’s fire chief on addresses they can and cannot reach in the event of a fire or other emergency. Bauman said they have several routes around the closure, but said each route will add several minutes to their response time, especially if they have to transport someone to a hospital in Warren.
The closure will not affect transports to hospitals west of Newton Falls or to Youngstown.
“We have a couple of choices. We have state Route 534, we have Braceville Robinson, which will take us to Route 82, which will take us down to the Center of the World, which is Route 5 and 82. We also have back ways we can go into Warren through township roads,” Bauman said. “We will go to the closest facility and it may take us a little longer, but based on traffic, it’s no different than any other community has. When people are going to work and getting off work, that is the worst time of day that we make transports.”
Three of the four lanes of Route 5 were washed out underneath the road after a culvert collapsed late last month.
Bauman hopes the road is open before winter, saying it could prove difficult traveling on back roads. The Ohio Department of Transportation has put a rush on the project and hopes to have Route 5 open by the end of the month or early October.
“What we are doing is digging out the old asphalt in the area where the void is underneath the road,” ODOT spokesman Brent Kovacs said.
A replacement culvert is on order and will be installed in two to three weeks.