HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A virtual public meeting was held Thursday evening for the public to learn and ask questions about the Diverging Diamond Interchange coming to the intersection of Routes 82 and 46 in Howland.
The start of the construction is still two years away and completion is four years away.
Officials with the Ohio Department of Transportation say it’s a safety issue after 159 accidents over a four year period.
One of the videos played during Thursday evening’s meeting took drivers north toward Cortland on Route 46 and showed how the new Diverging Diamond Interchange will work.
It looks confusing, but ODOT officials, who spoke during the meeting, say it’s not.
“It’s not as complicated as it seems on paper. When you’re driving it, you don’t really notice as much of what you’re doing,” said Jim Breitinger, an engineer.
ODOT’s Chad Root drove his wife through one in Toledo and intentionally didn’t tell her.
“I just drove and drove through it, and I said, “Hey, did you notice anything different with what we drove through?’ No, and she really had no idea whatsoever,” Root said.
One person who lives along Route 46 wanted to know if sound barriers would be erected.
No, they will not.
Another question was whether the entrance lane from 46 north onto 82 east would be extended to Howland Wilson Road to accommodate emergency vehicles.
No, it will not.
The need for safety was also stressed, which is why the crossing of Howland Wilson at Route 82 will also be eliminated starting in 2025.
“The 82 and Howland Wilson is a very dangerous intersection, and we can show that quantitatively,” Root said.
Despite all the questions and concerns, there was also support for the project.
“I recognize that this will be a challenging project to construct based upon the sheer volume of traffic, but I’m confident the finished project will service our county well,” said Randy Smith, a Trumbull County engineer.
“If one life is saved or the number of serious injuries are reduced, it’s well worth some minor inconvenience,: said Rick Clark, a Howland Township Trustee.
The status of the historic Yellow House was also discussed, with ODOT officials still insisting it must be moved.
At Wednesday night’s Howland Trustees meeting, it was announced that a man nearby has said he’ll donate the land to have it relocated.
A meeting between the interested parties will be held in mid-August.