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Published: Friday, 11/15/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

Open house on widening of I-75 draws praise, ideas

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Plans for noise walls along I-75 when it is widened between Lagrange Street and I-280 drew general praise from visitors to an Ohio Department of Transportation meeting Thursday about the project, as did rearrangement of part of the I-75/​I-280 junction.

“I am absolutely thrilled because all of a sudden, we can use our front yard if they put in noise walls. It’s like, Hallelujah,” cheered Annette Roberts, who lives near the freeway at Windemere Boulevard and Janis Drive.

But a few of the about four dozen people who dropped by during the three-hour ODOT Open House at Woodward High School had suggestions about the $45 million project, scheduled for construction in 2015 and 2016, that state officials said would be tough to accommodate.

James Brown, an Oregon resident who commutes through the I-75/​I-280 junction to his job in Dearborn, Mich., said ODOT should straighten out the 40-mph curve on the ramp from southbound I-75 to I-280, where tractor-trailers often overturn.

“I have to detour a lot through Point Place” because of truck accidents on the ramp, Mr. Brown said.

Elm Street resident Demora Hayes, meanwhile, said the Stickney-Lagrange interchange should be reconfigured to reduce Chrysler truck and commuter traffic passing near homes on the freeway’s south side and better block illegal turns from a freeway ramp onto her street.

“There’ve been some serious accidents down there,” she said.

While ODOT’s plans feature eliminating a left-lane merge for traffic entering southbound I-75 from northbound I-280 and changing the southbound I-75 alignment so I-280 traffic exits from the right instead of the left, state officials said more elaborate reconstruction was beyond the project’s scope, and perhaps not practical in the future, either.

Michael Stormer, the district planning engineer at ODOT’s Bowling Green office, said the Stickney-Lagrange interchange was put where it was because individual interchanges at either of those streets would be too close to the ramps for I-280 and Phillips Avenue, respectively.

Meanwhile, Mike Gramza, ODOT’s planning and engineering administrator in Bowling Green, said changing the curving ramp Mr. Brown complained about probably would cost $100 million and require condemning property — things the state isn’t ready to do. Officials hope shifting the southbound I-75 exit to I-280 to the right lane will tame some drivers who try to take the ramp too fast.

But he and Mr. Stormer said ODOT will review the comments for ideas to work into the plans.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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