New traffic signal design approved

Wellington village councilman Hans Schneider points to the design layout as the planning committee discusses the proposed changes.

Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise Wellington school district business manager Tim Wulfhoop said Ozanne Construction Company is accepting competitive bids for an ingress and egress overhaul on Rt. 58.

Fair traffic may be even more hectic this year thanks to another construction project that could slow cars on Rt. 58.

The next project to hit the state route involves adding a traffic light to the intersection where North Main Street meets the Wellington High School driveway.

The village planning commission approved Greenland Engineering’s plans for the stop light at its meeting last Wednesday morning.

“The new middle school generates more traffic and therefore more traffic warrants a traffic signal at the school driveway leading to 58,” design engineer John Urbanick said.

The plan involves widening the west side of Rt. 58 by three or four feet to add a left turn lane for northbound vehicles heading into the school driveway.

There will be one inbound lane to the school driveway. Exiting, there will be right and left turn lanes.

New traffic and crosswalk signs will also be added.

“The biggest thing it’ll do is allow traffic on 58 to stop and go more safely in a school zone,” Urbanick said. “By having the left turn lane into the school, people who are trying to continue north will continue to go north without being stopped because the people turning left will be out of the way of people trying to continue north. Right now if someone tries to turn left and can’t turn left because they’re waiting to get into the school, everything backs up toward downtown.”

Urbanick estimates it will take about eight weeks to complete, which falls right around Lorain County Fair week and the start of the new school year.

Councilman Hans Schneider expressed concerns about increased traffic during fair week. The fair attracted 130,00 people in 2013 and 126,000 poeple in 2014.

Urbanick tried to ease concerns by reminding the planning commission that the road will not be closed during construction.

“Fortunately, and this isn’t to minimize the amount of congestion you get, but fortunately it’s a very, very, very wide two-lane road and what we’re going to do in the construction zone is just make it a narrower two-lane road,” he said.

Tim Wulfhoop, business manager for the school district, said the village will work with the construction team when it gets closer to the week of the fair.

“We’ll make sure that when fair week arrives that they’re aware of peak times and have them make sure that they’re able to keep the cars flowing through there,” he said. “It is critical in this town. If the project’s going to stop traffic the project might stop.”

But Wulfhoop said at that point in the process it is unlikely to cause too many issues.

“I think like any construction project, the construction workers will do a good job of creating minimal impact when they’re trying to make an improvement such as this,” he said. “They will do everything possible during that interim time to minimize the impact of the construction project knowing that when its completed it’ll be that much more of an improvement.”

The new traffic signal is part of the plans to build the new McCormick Middle School building. Wulfhoop said this part of the project should cost somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000.

Ozanne Construction Company is building the school and will decide who is taking on the traffic signal installation through an invitation bid process. The company is still accepting bids.

Wulfhoop is hopeful the project will start within the next couple of weeks, but unforeseen circumstances may push the start date back.

“For a little piece of the project, it’s a pretty complicated item when you’re talking about moving utilities and installing traffic signals,” Wulfhoop said. “It’s a lot more complicated than it might appear on the surface.”

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.