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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2004

Wauseon: Reduced Rt. 2 speed supported in city

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

WAUSEON - Concerned about crashes and near misses at an increasingly busy intersection, the Wauseon police chief wants the speed limit reduced along a portion of State Rt. 2 near Shoop Avenue.

With the increasing traffic volume and new curb cuts, it's becoming a problem area and a safety issue, said Chief Keith Torbet. "There have been some serious accidents out there," he said.

More motorists likely will be traveling through that area in the near future, he said, in part because of new business near the intersection of Shoop Avenue and State Rt. 2. Construction on a multi-million-dollar movie complex is under way near there, and the nearby Wal-Mart is to be expanded.

In addition, the city is looking to extend Glenwood Avenue to State Rt. 2, the chief said, which would add another curb cut and more traffic. When that street is extended, some prime real estate would open up for business and residential growth, he said. There would be additional traffic, too, from a park under development in that area.

Joe Rutherford, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation, said that ODOT and the city have had some preliminary discussions about Chief Torbet's proposal to reduce the speed limit, but the discussions are still in the "very preliminary stages."

ODOT, he said, will work very closely with Wauseon officials as the city moves through the traffic study process.

Chief Torbet said that ODOT representatives told him the city's first step should be to conduct a traffic study.

"We are going to do as much as we can in-house so not to cost the city additional money," the chief said.

Wauseon will be asking ODOT for assistance, Mr. Torbet said, because only about one-tenth of a mile of State Rt. 2 is in the city and the rest of the roadway in the area targeted for reduced speed is a state route.

Mr. Rutherford said ODOT's involvement is not decided.

Within the city, the speed limit is 50 mph, but because the city's portion only extends one-tenth of a mile, no signs are posted. The remainder of the targeted area is 55 mph.

Chief Torbet said he will work with the Fulton County regional planning office to obtain documents to include in the study.



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