The Ohio Department of Transportation is closing a major highway ramp into downtown Akron.

The exit ramp from westbound Interstate 76-77 onto South Broadway will be shut down for at least 14 days starting Monday so workers can tie in the new ramp with the South Broadway and East Thornton Street intersection. The intersection also will be closed for two weeks.

The closure could last longer, depending on the weather, ODOT spokesman Justin Chesnic said.

The state agency estimates that about 18,000 vehicles a day use the ramp, meaning the closure will cause a major inconvenience for many motorists.

ODOT has closed several exit and entrance ramps along that stretch of highway in an effort to improve safety and reduce the number of vehicles weaving on and off the interstate there. The South Broadway/South Main ramps are the only ones still open, while the Grant Street and Wolf Ledges Parkway ramps have closed.

The state agency is recommending that people use Dart Avenue as an alternative to get into downtown. Dart is west of South Broadway. Motorists also could exit the highway on the far east side of the city before the Central Interchange or exit at state Route 8.

The South Broadway ramp closure originally was supposed to take place last fall when a new exit ramp opened but was delayed until the spring because of poor weather.

ODOT also is building a new ramp at the same South Broadway exit that will connect with South Main, but that portion won't open until later this year. Meanwhile, the South Main ramp onto westbound I-76-77 also is closed for construction and won't reopen until later this year.

The work is part of an $84 million project to reconstruct the highway interchange with South Main and South Broadway. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by July 2020.

 

Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.