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Published: Thursday, 6/26/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Ground-breaking for roundabouts 1st step to safety

BY MARISSA MEDANSKY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
 From left: Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority President Paul Toth, Jr., ODOT District II Deputy Director Todd Audet, City Council President Paula Hicks-Hudson, Mercy Healthcare Center's Steve Nathanson, City Council member Theresa Gabriel and Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins break ground. From left: Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority President Paul Toth, Jr., ODOT District II Deputy Director Todd Audet, City Council President Paula Hicks-Hudson, Mercy Healthcare Center's Steve Nathanson, City Council member Theresa Gabriel and Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins break ground.
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Officials broke ground Wednesday for construction they believe will make the notorious “Thousand Islands” intersection safer and easier to navigate for motorists.

The chaotic five-way intersection, which primarily includes Cherry Street, Collingwood and Manhattan boulevards, will soon be home to two multilane roundabouts.

The roundabouts, the first of their kind in Lucas County, will ease traffic problems and open up the neighborhood for further development, officials said at the ceremony.

The project will change the face of Toledo, according to Mayor D. Michael Collins, who noted the roundabouts’ historic significance.

Roundabouts, or circular intersections, have long been popular in Europe, and their importance was discussed by the mayor of Carmel, Ind., James Brainard, at the United States Conference of Mayors in Dallas this past week.

The roundabouts at Thousand Islands will reduce the area’‍s crash rate by 80 percent, Mayor Collins predicted.

Officials also plan to beautify the area around the roundabouts, adding “gateway” features such as landscaping and new lighting. Mayor Collins hopes the design will be “picturesque in all seasons” — “even winter,” he added.

The ceremony was the third groundbreaking “celebrating transportation investments” in the past two weeks, said Paul Toth, president and chief executive of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

Mr. Toth, noting connections among the various projects, said that the development nearby of Overland Industrial Park, the former Jeep factory site, emphasized the need for further street improvements in the neighborhood.

The project also represents a continuation of reconstruction of Collingwood Boulevard farther south, Toledo City Council president Paula Hicks-Hudson said.

Local taxpayers will contribute about $1.7 million to the roundabouts’‍ $4.69 million price tag, Mayor Collins said, with additional funding being provided by the state and federal departments of transportation. The roundabout project, to be built by Geddis Construction of Toledo, is part of a larger infrastructure investment costing a total of $13.8 million and largely funded by those groups.

Streets in the area will close within about a week, officials said, and reopen by early November.

Contact Marissa Medansky at: mmedansky@theblade.com or 419-724-6368.



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