The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

April 24, 2012

State says no to signal in front of Conneaut truck stop

CONNEAUT —  The state has applied the brakes to a proposed traffic signal in front of the busy Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores operation on Route 7 just south of Interstate 90, officials said.

In a memo sent to City Manager Tim Eggleston, CT Consultants — the city’s engineering firm — says that a signal can’t be posted at the truck stop entrance because of the short distance between the Love’s driveway and the I-90 ramps. “Due to the ‘limited access’ status of Route 7, ODOT’s standards cannot be over-ridden by the city,” wrote Shawn Aiken, engineer.

In recent months, City Council members have expressed concerns about trucks exiting the plaza and heading north on Route 7 to the freeway. The big rigs must cross two lanes of southbound traffic to reach the northbound lanes, and council is worried a crash will result.

Aiken, in his memo, did outline a long-term plan the city could pitch to ODOT that would funnel all traffic exiting Love’s onto nearby Center Road and then onto Underridge Road to return to Route 7. A signal could then be installed at Route 7 and Underridge Road to help control traffic. Center and Underridge roads would have to be toughened to handle the heavier vehicles, but the presence of improved roads may help spur additional development in the area, Aiken said.

In the interim, Aiken said the city could ask ODOT to consider funneling all northbound traffic on Route 7 to the right lane beginning at the spot where the highway goes from two to four lanes just south of Underridge. That arrangement would allow Love’s traffic — with the help of a traffic island — to head north “independent of oncoming traffic in the northbound lane,” Aiken wrote. Enough room would exist for trucks to move to the right to reach I-90’s eastbound entrance ramps, according to the reports.

Love’s opened the $6 million operation, which includes fuel pumps, a convenience store and two fast-food restaurants, in September 2010.

Police Chief Charles Burlingham could not be immediately reached Monday afternoon to discuss accident rates near the $6 million truck stop since it opened in September 2010. Fire Chief Steve Lee said Monday he could not recall any serious crashes in the vicinity of the Love’s operation.

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