MARIETTA - For years Ohio 26 in Marietta has followed the Greene Street corridor from the northeastern city limits to Third Street, but due to a change in traffic flow the Ohio Department of Transportation plans to reroute the state road along Acme Street.
"We wanted to move the designated route to where the most traffic flow is now, and more of that traffic is traveling along Acme Street," said Tony Durm, environmental engineer with ODOT District 10.
He noted that until the late 1960s the Williamstown Bridge was the only span crossing the Ohio River from Marietta.
"But the I-77 bridge opened in 1967, and that has fostered more development along Pike Street," Durm said, adding that there has been an accompanying increase in traffic on Acme Street.
"So it's a logical move for us to change the Ohio 26 designation from Greene Street to Acme," he said.
Durm said the switch won't have much impact on residents who live on Greene and Acme streets, as it won't require any change of address.
* Public comments on the Ohio Department of Transportation's plan to change the route of Ohio 26 through Marietta will be taken through March 6.
* Written comments can be submitted to T. Steve Williams, P.E., Deputy Director, Ohio Department of Transportation, 338 Muskingum Drive, Marietta, Ohio 45750.
* Comments can be emailed to Tony Durm, P.E., at firstname.lastname@example.org
"Basically we'll just be moving the Ohio 26 signs from Greene to Acme," he said. "No exact date has been determined for the change at this point, but we're working with the city to coordinate the move with the upgrade project at the intersection of Acme, Pike and Jefferson streets."
Marietta city engineer Joe Tucker said the project will include the installation of dual left turn lanes from Acme onto Pike Street, as well as traffic signal improvements that have been designed with the Ohio 26 rerouting in mind.
He noted many large trucks still travel along Greene Street to reach Ohio 7 south or Ohio 60 north in downtown Marietta, although Acme Street is wider and provides a better route to access those roadways.
"We would also prefer that trucks use Acme as the state route instead of Greene Street because of the narrow turning radius for large vehicles traveling from Greene Street onto north Seventh Street," Tucker said.
Durm and Tucker said they've had no complaints or concerns about the route change.
"We're in no hurry to do this, so we can wait to make the move until the city completes the Acme, Pike and Jefferson intersection improvements, which would be the logical time to make the change," Durm said.
ODOT District 10 planning engineer Saleh Eldabaja noted the change will have a slight impact on area maps and GPS devices some drivers use to guide them through town. The length of Ohio 26 through Marietta will shorten from the current 1.227 miles between the city limits and Third Street, to 0.628 mile from the town limits to Acme Street and then along Acme to the new state route terminus at the Pike Street intersection.
"We'll provide information on the changes to GPS and mapping companies, as well as to Web companies like Google," Eldabaja said. "It will be up to them to make the necessary corrections."
Tucker noted the removal of Ohio 26 from Greene Street will not impact the status of Greene Street as a federal aid roadway, meaning the city can still apply for funding assistance when repairs and paving are needed.
Marietta Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, said his only concern is the city has always been able to do projects along Greene Street in conjunction with ODOT.
"We've been able to piggyback our paving dollars with ODOT for that section of Greene Street," he said. "Now it will be on our shoulders to apply for that funding directly, rather than go through ODOT."