Staff Writer

CONNEAUT -- Engi-neers will begin work soon on a traffic study aimed at bringing new development to Conneaut's Interstate 90 interchange, officials said.

CT Consultants has been hired to conduct the study, expected to take four weeks to complete.

City Council, at a special meeting, authorized City Manager Douglas Lewis to contract with the firm for the work.

CT Consultants, using computer software, will compile a report that predicts the amount of traffic specific businesses would create if located at the southeast corner of the Route 7/ I-90 interchange.

City officials want to expedite the study because Lewis has said he is working with a developer interested in the area. The developer has not been identified, but other sources indicate it may be a gas station or truck stop.

City officials hope the study will convince the Ohio Department of Trans--portation to ease the limited access it maintains along a stretch of Route 7 north and south of the freeway. During the 1950s, when Ohio was creating its interstate highway system, Columbus secured control of the property.

ODOT's hold makes it difficult to build side streets off Route 7 that could service businesses. The state has no objection to relaxing the limited access but wants assurances commercial development in the area won't cause traffic problems near the I-90/ Route 7 entrance and exit ramps.

The traffic survey surfaced during a recent meeting in Columbus that involved ODOT, State Rep. George Distel, D-Con-neaut, and Council-man-at-Large Chris Castril-la.

Conneaut will pay no more than $4,000 for the study, which could be finished in four weeks, officials said. The money will come from economic development funds, Lewis said.

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