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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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The Lake Township trustees may ask the Ohio Department of Transportation to reconsider its proposal to lower the speed limit on State Route 51 to 50 MPH and instead lower the limit to 45 MPH, a trustee said last week.

At the request of the trustees, ODOT recently conducted a speed study of the stretch of Rt. 51 in the township and came up with several proposals for enhancing safety, including establishing a no-passing zone between Cason Street and Millbury Road and lowering the speed limit to 50 MPH from Pemberville Road east to the township limits at Fostoria Road.

The current speed limit is 55 MPH.

Trustee Richard Welling said he and the other trustees will be monitoring the frequency of accidents on Route 51 and make an additional request to lower the speed limit if there isn’t a decline.

The trustees had requested a reduction to 35 MPH, but Welling said they were hoping for a compromise at 45 MPH.

“I think in our reply back (to Mike Stormer ODOT District Planning Engineer) we might still ask for 45 MPH to be considered,” he said.

A no-passing zone near the Route 51/Millbury Road intersection should help reduce “near misses” and accidents, Welling said, but he and the trustees intend to continue to request a traffic signal be installed at the intersection.

“The trustees are committed to a traffic control device at State Route 51 and Millbury Road…,” he said.

After reviewing speed and crash data at 19 intersections, ODOT is also proposing:
• At the Fostoria Road/Route 51 intersection install new “Intersection Ahead” signs for eastbound and westbound Route 51 with a “Fostoria Road“  name plate mounted below.  Use pavement markings to “square up” the intersection – as was done at Millbury Road – to address the skew issue and angle crashes. Add “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” signs to below the existing right stop signs.
• At the Route 51 intersections with Bradner, Walbridge, and Pemberville roads install new “Intersection Ahead” signs for eastbound/westbound Route 51 with the Bradner, Walbridge, and Pemberville name plates below. The Pemberville plate will include “Eastpointe Blvd.”

Once ODOT and the trustees agree on the proposals, a timeline for their implementation can be set, Stormer’s letter to the trustees says.

In July, the trustees approved a resolution asking for the study and for ODOT to lower the Route 51 speed limit from 55 MPH to 35 between Fostoria Road and State Route 579 - the route’s entire length in the township.

The section of Route 51 in the township has experienced “an increase in traffic use, accidents, and developmental pressures,” the resolution says.

At the trustee’s June 2 meeting, representatives of ODOT said the number of accidents at the Millbury Road/Route 51 intersection doesn’t meet criteria set in the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for installing a traffic light, which is what the trustees have for years been requesting.

Dave Dysard, ODOT District Director, said a traffic signal at the intersection could even make it less safe.

Last week, Welling said the proposed safety improvements were welcome but should have been done years ago.

“I do question why the upgrades were not performed years ago on ODOT’s highway and why it took a request and meeting with the trustees to get this accomplished,” he said.

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