Fairfield wants to improve safety, traffic flow at ‘top priority’ intersection

The city of Fairfield is seeking state funds to help pay for a project that will improve the safety and traffic flow at the Ohio 4 and Seward Road intersection. Work includes lengthening the southbound right turn lane onto Seward and widening Seward Road to allow a double left turn onto southbound Ohio 4. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

FAIRFIELD — The city is asking the Ohio Department of Transportation to help fund a safety and traffic improvement project at a “top priority” intersection.

The intersection improvement project proposes to work on Ohio 4, but the most significant work will be along Seward Road between Ohio 4 and Fairfield Business Drive, according to the city.

Work on Ohio 4 includes lengthening the southbound right-turn lane onto Seward Road in front of Arby’s, said Public Works Director Ben Mann. Work on Seward Road includes widening to allow a dedicated double left turn onto southbound Ohio 4. Pedestrian improvements will be made as part of this project.

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Mann said there would be significant right-of-way impacts to the property on the southeast corner of the intersection, which is vacant.

The work will help with the development happening on Seward Road, most notably the redevelopment of the former Liberty Mutual property purchased by the Ambrose Property Group. The Indianapolis-based developer is investing up to $50 million as it constructs as many as five new buildings on a planned 137-acre Fairfield Commerce Park.

Ambrose officials anticipate between 600 and 1,000 jobs in the e-commerce and light industrial industries at the property as tenants lease space as buildings are constructed.

The intersection improvement project will benefit current businesses, as well as, facilitate future developments along Seward Road, Mann said. He also said the improvements will mitigate impacts on an increase of traffic, especially truck traffic.

The project will improve the safety of the intersection, said City Manager Mark Wendling, calling Ohio 4 and Seward Road a “top priority” for traffic improvements.

“This project will address capacity and safety issues by making a significant change to lane utilization as well as overall improvements to the traffic signal,” he said.

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Nearly a quarter of all accidents at Ohio 4 and Seward Road between 2017 and 2019 were injury-related, according to city data. A third of those accidents involved one vehicle rear-ending another, and 26.6 percent were an angled crash, according to a safety study of the intersection. The percentage of accidents are higher than statewide averages, according to the city.

If ODOT awards Fairfield the grant ― which would fund about 90 percent of the $3.1 million project ― engineering would begin in 2021 and right-of-way would be purchased in 2022 and 2023. Construction would likely begin in 2024.

Mann said if the city is not awarded the grant, they’d reapply because it would be needed to perform the work.

INTERSECTION ACCIDENTS

Between 2017 and 2019, 64 accidents at Ohio 4 and Seward Road in Fairfield have been injury-related, which is 23.4 of all accidents. Here’s a breakdown of when those injury accidents occurred:

  • Fridays: 16 (25 percent)
  • Tuesdays: 12 (18.8 percent)
  • Monday: 12 (18.8 percent)
  • Thursdays: 9 (14.1 percent)
  • Wednesdays: 7 (10.9 percent)
  • Saturday: 6 (9.4 percent)
  • Sunday: 2 (3.1 percent)

Source: city of Fairfield

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