Money will be available in 2022; city’s portion of $5.9 million project is $3.9 million
GALION — Some relief is expected for those tired of traffic congestion on Ohio 598.
Unfortunately, that relief is four years and $4 million away.
The City of Galion announced Friday that it had received notification from ODOT that it has been awarded $2 million in grant funding to widen the northern section of Ohio 598 and add a center turn lane.
Of the $2 million, $1.1 million will come from the Federal Highway Safety Program, and up to an additional $900,000 will come from the Small City Program.
The total project cost is $5.9 million, including engineering. The local match for the project is $3,973,696.
Social media comments elicited by the Galion Inquirer show that most are happy about the plans to widen the most congested stretch of roadway in this area, but there are some reservations, including questions about how Galion will be able to pay it’s nearly $4 million dollar portion of the $5.9 million project.
”Great news, come on Galion lets keep growing,” said Tim Kendall of Galion.
However, the fact the grant money will not be available for four years won’t help the problem now, and readers think it is going to get worse before it gets better.
”It’s great, except that it’s four year away,” said Cathy McCumber Hansen. “We need a solution now, especially at Brandt Road. When the new gas stations open they may keep traffic out of Galion, but it is just going to make 598 and Brandt Road so much worse.”
Many wonder what the city will be able to do in the meantime to alleviate the traffic problem.
“How about a stoplight at the Brandt road intersection?” said Amy Copley. “It is horrible to try and get out at that intersection. Now it’s just going to be more difficult as you will be waiting for people to turn onto Brandt Road and dealing with the people traveling down 598.”
Bob Hartman of Galion sees other needs for that stretch of road, too.
“Need to lower the speed limit, and add some more lighting,” Hartman said. “And we need a stop light when getting off of U.S. 30 bypass, too.”
Lowering the speed limit has been discussed by some in city council. And that remains a possibility.
The $2 million grant comes as part of a project is to reduce traffic congestion and rear-end crashes due to vehicles making left turns. Average daily traffic for this section of the highway is 13,200 vehicles, according to Matt Echelberry, communications manager for the City of Galion.
The widening project will begin at the Carter Drive junction and end at the Brandt Road intersection and will approximately 1.2 miles in length. Also, the entire road within this section will be resurfaced.
In addition, portions of existing sidewalk near Carter Drive will be extended for improved pedestrian access.