Tuesday, October 28, 2008

DETOUR: Road Closing Proves More Difficult Than It Seems

by Amanda Fondriest

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has closed West Union Street between State Route 682 and Elliotsville Road for rockslide prevention. The road will be closed this week, Monday through Friday, from 9am to 3pm. A detour has been set up to help motorists; however, the recommended route may not be the best way around the construction.

Why is It Closed?
Although this is a state project, Director of the Athens Street Department, Andrew Stone talked explained what the closure is all about. Stone said, "The portion just west of State Route 682 on State Route 56, also known at Union Street, was identified as one of the more locally locations that a rockfall would occur."

Director of the Athens Street Department Andrew Stone explains the reason for the construction.

The Detour
Because the construction is a state project, Stone told us the detour provided by ODOT can only direct residents onto state roads. However, the provided detour takes residents out Route 682--a lengthier trip than many are bargaining for. To help residents get around the construction site with a little more ease, the Government Channel has been running the following informational statement.

"Union Street between SR 682 and Elliotsville Rd. will be closed 9:00am - 3:30pm daily October 27 through October 31 in order to conduct removal of potential rock fall locations. Westbound motorists bypass the area traveling via SR682 South, to US50 West, to Radford Rd. north to SR56, or SR682 North, to Vore Ridge Rd. west, Salem Rd. south to SR56. Eastbound motorists can take the reverse of these directions."

What Residents Think
Area resident Matthew Minarcheck came to talk with Athens MidDay while we were taking video of the Road Closed signs. He told us that even though the construction is a safety measure, it has proven to be more of a burden than a relief.

Minarcheck said, "We saw the signs. It just said from 9 to 3:30, and we weren't sure if that was in the morning time. So it was a bit confusing."

Resident Matthew Minarcheck discusses the inconvenience of the West Union Street construction.

Market Manager Kurt Strickmaker at Kerr Distributors told us that the minor inconvenience that the construction causes is justifiable considering the safety precautions it creates.

A First Hand Account
While trying to get to Kerr Distributers, Athens MidDay reporter Ryan Scarpino and I experienced the difficult detour for ourselves. For my commentary on our little adventure, check out my blog.

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