By LOU WILIN
Findlay’s Lima Avenue was reopened Thursday with new roundabouts on either side of U.S. 68-Ohio 15.
Though it had always been the goal to reopen the area before winter, state officials feared last spring they might miss that deadline. Large amounts of rainfall from October 2018 through spring 2019 put construction way behind schedule.
“If you would have told me back in June that we would be standing here before Thanksgiving to open this, I would have thought you were crazy,” said Chris Hughes, deputy director for District 1 of the Ohio Department of Transportation.
To catch up, officials took resources and attention away from other areas of the Interstate 75 upgrade and put them into the roundabout construction and reopening Lima Avenue.
The state’s $114 million reconstruction and widening of Interstate 75 through Findlay and Hancock County is on schedule to be entirely completed by late summer 2020, he said. This winter, contractors will be working on several bridges in the area of the Interstate 75-U.S. 68 interchange.
But in the meantime, there’s no getting around it: the roundabouts will have direct benefits. They will move more traffic through Lima Avenue more quickly and more safely, Hughes said.
“The amount of delay that traffic will experience will be reduced compared to what it was in the past,” he said.
The improved safety is indisputable, he said.
“Roundabouts have been proven across the nation to reduce total accidents by between 30 and 40 percent, severe injury crashes by 75 percent and fatal crashes by 90 percent,” Hughes said.
The reopening of Lima Avenue also will likely lessen congestion on West Sandusky and Harrison streets, which many motorists used during the Lima Avenue closing.
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