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ODOT plans to add turn lane in Rootstown

By DIANE SMITH Staff Writer Published: May 12, 2017 4:00 AM
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The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to do a "total take" of the building that houses Angelo's Pizzaeria in Rootstown. But other property owners can only expect to lose a few feet from their right of way when ODOT installs a turn lane, which won't happen for another three years.

Those were some of the things residents learned when ODOT held an open house on Thursday to receive feedback on its plans for S.R. 44 and Tallmadge Road in Rootstown.

ODOT said it hopes to improve safety with the project, which includes a new southbound right turn lane on S.R. 44. Other improvements to the intersection, including a new traffic signal, also are planned.

Between 2012 and 2014, ODOT states that 17 crashes were reported at the intersection, many of them rear end crashes that were attributed to congestion there. An eastbound left turn lane was installed at the intersection in 2004.

The total project is expected to cost $490,000, with funding from state and local sources.

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ODOT representatives spread throughout the room to answer questions from property owners and township officials.

Christopher Huff of ODOT confirmed that ODOT is proposing a "total take" of the Angelo's property to accommodate its improvement to the corner. Other properties that would be affected include two churches -- The First Congregational Church and Rootstown United Methodist Church, Chemical Bank, another commercial property and the township's fire station. However, all of those properties would only lose a few feet of right of way, leaving their parking lots and buildings unscathed.

Kristin Bergdorf said ODOT plans to start acquiring right of way this summer. Since Angelo's owner Woodie Goodnight rents the pizza shop, compensation would be provided to both Goodnight and his landlord. ODOT also will help Goodnight find another parcel if he requests it.

Goodnight, who talked with ODOT officials along with an attorney, said he was upset about the proposal but was glad to hear a clear timeline for the project.

Trustees Joe Paulus and David McIntyre said they were glad to get their questions answered, but McIntyre said he wished ODOT had approached trustees about the project sooner.

"My concern is that people are coming to us with questions and we have no idea how to answer them," he said. "People are believing rumors."


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