BEAVER TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Drivers traveling along Interstate 680 in Beaver Township now have easy access on and off the highway.
Just in time for one of the busiest travel days of the year, workers finally removed the “road closed” signs along South Avenue extension Wednesday for the newest on- and off-ramps for I-680.
“Just so everybody’s aware, this thing is opening up today,” said Gery Noirot, with the Ohio Department of Transportation. “This just isn’t an exercise in futility.”
The year-and-a-half-long project to connect the freeway with this part of South Avenue and give easier access to the Ohio Turnpike cost more than $11.5 million. It required five different funding sources.
One of those was ODOT’s safety fund, which was used to install a new roundabout just south of the interchange.
“Fixing the 11th worst rural intersection at 626 and 164,” Noirot said.
Perhaps the most relieved to see this open again are the owners of Tabor’s Garden Center, located across from the interchange. They had little choice but to suffer through the construction.
“The traffic patterns and the bridges were closed for two years,” Eric Tabor said. “People, I think, avoid the area like the plague.”
Engineers said the new ramps will ease congestion at South Avenue and Western Reserve, which now sees 12,000 vehicles each day.
It could also help promote economic development here.
“Some of the interest we’ve heard has been some nursing homes, assisted living, hotels, gas stations — those kinds of things,” said Beaver Township Trustee Pamela Simmons.
“There’s going to be a…lot of cars going through by our place every day so we’re hoping for the best there,” Tabor said.
Maybe it’ll make the wait for this to reopen worthwhile.