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Road work relieves some village traffic

PROCTORVILLE – Motorists who usually take County Road 403, or Irene Road, as a detour around Ohio 7 in Proctorville, will have to continue to alter their traffic patterns until November.

Thursday, September 23, 1999

PROCTORVILLE – Motorists who usually take County Road 403, or Irene Road, as a detour around Ohio 7 in Proctorville, will have to continue to alter their traffic patterns until November.

Ohio Department of Transportation contractors, Armstrong Steel Erectors, have exposed the two culverts to be replaced and have completed installing a sewer pipe.

"It’s going real good," said Greg Pate, Armstrong laborer. "Everything’s running real smooth. And once the sanitation line is installed, it should be smooth sailing through the rest of the project."

ODOT officials decided to repair the road so that it can be used as a detour route when Paddy Creek Bridge is replaced in February, said Holly Snedecor-Gray, ODOT District 9 public information officer.

Despite the road closure, traffic is moving smoothly through Proctorville.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials installed a new controller for the signal light at Wilgus Street Sept. 15, Mrs. Snedecor-Gray said.

"What they wanted to do was change the timing of the light to give Ohio 7 motorists more time," she said.

Between the hours of 6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m., the light will stay green for 90 seconds. It will stay green for 60 seconds at all other times before allowing traffic on the side streets to move.

There also is a signal detector underneath the pavement, which would allow the light to stay green for longer periods of time if no motorists trip the sensor on the side streets, Mrs. Snedecor-Gray added.

"If no one pulls up to the side streets, it could be green for 10 minutes," she said. "But it will be green a minimum of 60 seconds otherwise, except for during rush hour times when it will be 90."

Added traffic congestion on Ohio 7 after the closing of Irene Road prompted the changes to the Thomas Street signal light, Mrs. Snedecor-Gray added.

"It was done because of our project that is going on," she said. "The Paddy Creek Bridge project, which involves the closing of Irene Road caused more traffic to be diverted onto Ohio 7."

The extended signal light is only a temporary change, however.

Once the project is over, the city’s regular signal will be reinstalled, Mrs. Snedecor-Gray said.

Proctorville village officials are very happy with the new signal light, however.

The light is allowing traffic to flow more regularly through the village, said Rick Dunfee, Proctorville village administrator.

"It’s keeping traffic moving," Dunfee said. "It looks like it’s going to be fine."

Before the installation of the light, Proctorville police officers manually switched the light at that intersection from green to red, to control the flow of traffic through the village from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., said Sgt. Mike Baker.

"I’d say traffic through here now is not at a stop," Baker said. "It’s slow, but it’s not at a stop."

The signal light at the Ohio 775 intersection will continue to be disabled and flash yellow in the mornings to allow more through traffic, Baker added.

And the village is asking that any motorist who needs to make a left at Thomas Street turn right at Wilgus Street and go up to the signal light at Thomas Street to avoid further delays during rush hour, Dunfee said.

Not everyone is complaining about the loss of Irene Road as an alternate route through Rome Township.

Business owner of Ward’s Service Station, Ron Ward said he could get used to lessened traffic on Irene Road.

"The road closure gave me more parking," Ward said. "And I haven’t seen where the closure affected me at all. People will be here regardless. It’s been kind of a blessing."

Ward isn’t looking forward to when the road work is completed, and Irene Road is used as a detour around Paddy Creek Bridge, though.

"When they close the bridge, that’s going to mess us up," he said. "It will be dangerous then. The traffic – they fly out this road, drag race, pass each other. How they’ve kept from having bad accidents out here before, I don’t know."

Village and township officials do have some time to plan, however.

The bridge will not close until February, and local officials will continue to discuss ways to make the traffic situation bearable for all, Baker said.