Marietta residents ponder bottleneck on Ohio 821

MARIETTA – Ruth Stutler is extra cautious when she leaves her home and drives onto Ohio 821.

That’s because the section of road in front of her home has been tied up for months during a project by the Ohio Department of Transportation to widen the road at Ohio 60 and Ohio 821 at Uniontown. The road is reduced to one lane with mobile traffic signals at each end.

“We come down here, and we don’t see anything moving,” said Stutler, 92, of 250 State Route 821. “We don’t know which direction is open for us, but they do seem to have it running smoothly.”

Rose said there hasn’t been a crew there working for some time, but that that’s not unusual.

“The contractor, Shelly & Sands, is one of the largest paving and highway contractors in the state of Ohio,” Rose said. “They have a huge workload this year. This year, ODOT has advanced $2.3 billion in contracts, one of the largest amount in history. Crews were pulled to finish other jobs and are coming back next week. This is not rare.”

Rose said he expects work to begin again on Monday.

A.V. Miller, owner of Miller’s AM PM at Ohio 821 and Arends Ridge Road, said he hasn’t noticed any effect, especially on the pizza business, Fox’s Pizza Den, which is inside his store.

However, Robert Chamberlain, 72, of 810 Arends Ridge Road, drives that section of Ohio 821 every day and said he has seen traffic jams and accidents.

“There’s someone wrecking every day,” Chamberlain said. “How long is it going to be before someone gets killed?”

Sgt. Michael Seabolt of the Marietta post of the Ohio Highway Patrol said the patrol has not received an unusual number of reports of crashes in the construction zone.

Chamberlain said several issues occur almost daily in the construction zone, including hitting the collapsible guardrail and its bright yellow cover. On Monday, he said, the mobile traffic signal was stuck blinking on red. Vehicles also risk getting scraped by tractor-trailers because of the space available at each end.

“Why are they letting this thing go on so long?” Chamberlain asked. “It’s the worse nuisance I have ever seen.”

He said he was concerned that the roadway was partially closed and that the project then seemed to be abandoned.