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Police and Fire Chiefs Talk U.S. 422 Traffic Barriers

Police Chief Chris Viland and Fire Chief Bill Shaw say the new barriers could cause safety problems, but they will need to observe and gather evidence before deciding.

As Solon City Council prepares to send a letter to the Ohio Department of Transportation asking to remove the new traffic barriers on U.S. 422, the city's top safety officials say they don't yet know if the barriers will make the highway more dangerous.

During Wednesday's safety committee meeting, Police Chief Chris Viland and Fire Chief Bill Shaw both said that there is a chance the barriers -- only a few feet away from the inside lanes of U.S. 422 -- will make the highway more dangerous.

But they don't know yet.

"Certainly the problem has been solved, but will it create other issues?" Shaw said. "We’ll have to wait and see."

Shaw was one of the officials who first requested a barrier be built along the highway to prevent cars from crossing the grassy median and causing head-on collisions.

But the city envisioned a barrier in the middle of the median, not right along the inside lanes. Now city council officials are concerned that the barriers will cause safety problems since cars will not be able to pull off on that side. Last week, city council voted to send a letter to the state asking the barriers be removed.

Viland said there are similar barriers along other stretches of highway in Northeast Ohio. He said he sees the possibility the barriers could make the highway less safe, but they will have to observe closely before making that decision.

Councilman Bill Russo, who chairs the safety committee, was out of town when city council decided to send the letter. He said he's worried it will send the wrong message to ODOT and make the relationship messy.

"If we are going to object, we should have objected well in advance of them completing the project," Russo said. "At this point, I think it will create more negative issues down the road."

Councilman Rick Bell said he felt the matter should be discussed by the full council and not at the safety committee, since the council already voted on the matter.

Russo asked that Traffic Engineer Kevin Westbrooks help the city clerk craft the letter to ODOT.

Whether ODOT listens is another story.

"Whether or not it's in our best interest to ask them, I'm not sure if they will listen anyways," Viland said.

John November 17, 2011 at 11:02 PM
(Un)Common sense will tell you there WILL be problems. Every winter during big storms you will see several cars in the median, now these cars will be bouncing into traffic. "Wait and See" isn't very proactive. Maybe if they didn't "wait and see" what ODOT would build there would have been a chance to influence the direction of the project. Now it appears we're stuck with it.
Mary Gulla November 18, 2011 at 12:31 AM
Perhaps if people would pay attention when they drive rather than talking on their cell phones, putting makeup on, or thinking that they won't get into an accident so they drive like idiots.
John November 18, 2011 at 05:33 AM
Far be it for me to defend the very poor driving habits of Solonites. I've criticized them while seeing them first hand on Bainbridge Rd. But the other issue here is the poor track record of road projects in this city. Too many projects have too many problems even though we pay plenty of people, plenty of money to prevent them, The "wait and see" attitude expressed at the meeting is just the tip of an iceberg of problems.
tomcody November 21, 2011 at 05:31 PM
,,John, no one knew who you were till bainbridge rd..now you have an opinion about EVERYTHING..!!.. MY QUESTION; .."WHAT DO YOU LIKE"..??..!!..
Mary Gulla November 21, 2011 at 07:01 PM
tomcody,,,,that's funny.

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