The Ohio Department of Transportation says plans to install a double-sided guardrail down the center of state Route 18 in eastern Medina County are being “shelved.”

Many businesses along the busy four-lane road, which divides Sharon and Granger townships and connects Medina and Akron, have been opposed to the guardrail proposal.

“We have said from the beginning of this process that adding the guardrail was a last resort,” District 3 Deputy Director Howard Huebner said in a prepared statement this week. “We cannot compromise safety, but we also don’t want to cause an unnecessary inconvenience to the businesses and property owners along state Route 18.”

The decision is being welcomed by the business owners.

“We’re happy and we’re thrilled that they listened to us,” said Matt Snyder, owner of the High & Low Winery along the road.

He said the businesses are looking forward to working with ODOT on ways to improve safety.

The state agency has been searching for ways to improve safety on the 5-mile stretch between Windfall Road and Medina Line Road for years. Since 2008, there have been 480 crashes there, including nine fatalities.

ODOT has installed four speed-limit feedback signs, rumble strips along the outside edge line and throughout the center turn lane, and more than 1,300 raised pavement markers on center lines, lane lines and edge lines at stop approaches.

“Safety is, and has always been, our top priority,” Huebner said. “We are confident that the changes we have made and plan to make will accomplish our goal of a safer road to travel on.”

ODOT also is designing additional right turn lanes at the intersections with state Route 94 and Windfall Road, and will be upgrading and coordinating traffic signals.