By LOU WILIN
STAFF WRITER

While traffic backs up daily on other Findlay streets, the race is on to bring relief by reopening Lima Avenue, which has been closed for Interstate 75 construction.

But it’s uncertain whether that will happen by year-end.

A state transportation official sought to reassure frustrated Findlay motorists Monday in a speech to Findlay Rotary Club.

“We didn’t want that to go over a second winter with that closure,” said Chris Hughes, district deputy director for the Ohio Department of Transportation. “We’re making every effort we can to get this all done this year.”

State officials and a contractor are trying to speed up reconstruction of the Lima Avenue interchange with U.S. 68-Ohio 15.

Rebuilding the interchange has left Lima Avenue closed at the interchange since last fall. That’s caused traffic congestion and delays on other city streets with motorists seeking alternative routes.

State officials originally planned to rebuild the interchange by year-end. But wet weather in recent months has slowed construction.

The state has negotiated an acceleration agreement with the contractor to try to get the interchange reconstruction completed by winter, Hughes said.

The Lima Avenue interchange will include two roundabouts, one on each side of U.S. 68/Ohio 15.

Hughes said the roundabouts will make the interchange safer. But officials are anticipating skepticism and even angst among motorists unfamiliar with navigating roundabouts.

“It can look a little intimidating,” he said.

The state will be rolling out an education campaign to boost public confidence in roundabouts, he said.

“It’s worked other places. It will work here,” Hughes said. “In the last 15 years, they’ve really grown a lot in popularity.”

“They are absolutely the safest type of intersection,” he said. “There are fender benders, but there are not nearly as many severe and fatal type crashes at roundabouts.”

Wilin: 419-427-8413 Send an E-mail to Lou Wilin

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