HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been the scene of many crash sites over the years, earning the Ohio Department of Transportation’s title of being one of the most dangerous intersections in the area.
Now, ODOT is studying the area between State Routes 82 and 46 in Howland to look at a change to help alleviate problems there.
Among projects being considered is a “diverging diamond” interchange, and there’s only one like it in Ohio — in the Columbus area.
Watch: State Route 82/46 Interchange proposal (Video courtesy of the Trumbull County Engineer’s Office)
Over the years, the state has tried to make the interchange safer, but so far, nothing has really worked.
Sam Trina, a barber at the Lanai Salon just north of the interchange, said it’s a daily headache. Every day, he does what he can to get through the traffic trap as quickly as possible.
“There’s a double light up there. Sometimes, people don’t observe that light, and there’s people merging on the other side of the overpass, and it creates a dangerous problem, actually,” he said.
With nearly 50,000 people passing through the area every day, Trumbull County’s deputy engineer knows that it’s a problem.
“It’s a failing interchange, currently. It doesn’t effectively move traffic through it, and there’s more accidents than you should have at a typical interchange,” Gary Shaffer said.
Shaffer said he believes that a diverging diamond interchange would clear up the area’s traffic nightmare.
“It reduces the points of conflict, so anytime you’re making a left, you’re not going to be making a left in front of traffic. It improves the flow of traffic and reduces traffic,” he said.
Clarification: The Ohio Department of Transportation reached out to WKBN to clarify a plan presented at the Trumbull County Commissioner’s meeting. ODOT says it is still studying the area and hasn’t decided on a plan of action yet. Once ODOT determines options, public meetings will be held to get input on the best way to move forward. ODOT said it is looking at ways to reduce congestion at the intersection.