Traffic bottleneck on 821

Ruth Stutler has to be extra cautious when she leaves her home and pulls out onto Ohio 821.

That’s because the section of road in front of her home has been tied up for months during an Ohio Department of Transportation project to widen the road just past the Ohio 60-Ohio 821 intersection at Uniontown. The road is down to one lane with mobile traffic signals at each end.

“We come down here, and we don’t see anything moving,” said Stutler, 92, of 250 State Route 821. “We don’t know which direction is open for us, but they do seem to have it running smoothly.”

The $1.3 million project is a road relocation, said David Rose, ODOT District 10 communications manager. The aim of the project is to eliminate the sharp curve and enhance sight distance. The work is about 70 percent complete with a target completion date of Nov. 1. The project began Sept. 5, 2012.

Rose said there hasn’t been a crew there working for some time but that that’s not unusual.

“The contractor, Shelly & Sands, is one of the largest paving and highway contractors in the state of Ohio,” Rose said. “They have a huge workload this year. This year, ODOT has advanced $2.3 billion in contracts, one of the largest amount in history. Crews were pulled to finish other jobs and are coming back next week. This is not rare.”

Rose said he expects work to begin again at the site on Monday.

A.V. Miller, owner of Miller’s AM PM at Ohio 821 and Arends Ridge Road, said he hasn’t noticed any effect, especially on the pizza business, Fox’S Pizza Den, which is inside his store.

However, Robert Chamberlain, 72, of 810 Arends Ridge Road, drives that section of Ohio 821 every day, and said he noticed traffic jams and accidents.

“There’s someone wrecking every day,” Chamberlain said. “How long is it going to be before someone gets killed?”

Sgt. Michael Seabolt, of the Marietta post of the Ohio Highway Patrol, said the patrol has not received any unusual number of reports of crashes and the like in the construction zone.

Chamberlain indicated several issues in the construction zone, including someone hitting the collapsible guardrail and its bright yellow cover almost daily. On Monday, he said, the mobile traffic signal was stuck blinking on red. Vehicles also risk getting scraped by tractor-trailers because of the space available at each end.

“Why are they letting this thing go on so long?” Chamberlain asked. “It’s the worse nuisance I have ever seen.”

He said he was concerned that the roadway was partially closed and that the project then seemed to be abandoned.