Kent City Council approves final pieces of State Route 43 Project

Andrew, Anthony, Jenna

The Kent City Council’s meeting on Wednesday night saw the approval of the final easement ordinances for the State Route 43 Traffic Improvement Project.

The project includes adding turning lanes and new traffic signals to improve traffic flow in the area. It’ll mostly be concentrated around SR 261, near an entrance to Kent State University.

The entire project will cost $2.4 million and that includes design, construction and right of way costs, according to City Engineer James Bowling. The project is made possible through a mix of federal and state grants, with the city footing a small portion of the bill. Bowling said 80 percent of construction funding comes from Federal Highway Administration and Ohio Department of Transportation.

Bowling said he hopes to break ground on the project next spring and plans for completion to be finished within 18 months. The city will use a competitive bidding process to select the construction companies who will complete the project.

Bowling said that the project is intended to alleviate congestion in the area and helps the flow of traffic near Kent State’s campus. The project will replace three traffic signals, add a second turning lane for traffic turning south onto SR 43 from 261, and connect the six older traffic signals to the rest of the city’s system.

The council unanimously approved the final three easement ordinances needed before the planning stages of the project can be complete. The three ordinances, which allow the city to purchase small portions of private land along SR 43, will total around $2,000.

“We had about 25 to 26 property owners and all but one settled for fair market value without going through an eminent domain proceeding,” Bowling said.

In addition to the construction project, the council also passed a resolution for the city of Kent to support the Paris Climate Agreement, to relocate an existing sanitary sewer pipe, and to authorizing a collective bargaining agreement between the city and the Civilian Employee Unit, Dispatch Unit and Kent Police Officer Unit.

Council at Large member Melissa Long also motioned to create a standing senior citizen council to support and promote the development of a senior center within the proposed Kent Health and Wellness Center. The motion was rejected by the council and it was decided to revisit the idea after Issue 8 passes or fails this election season to decide if the city should build a recreation and wellness center.

 

Division of Work

Anthony- Attended meeting, Interviewed City Engineer

Andrew-Attended meeting, Wrote story, Transcribed interview

Jenna-Attended meeting, Wrote story, Created Storify