By JIM MAURER FOR THE REVIEW TIMES TIFFIN - A draft report of the Ohio 53 study is expected to be presented in July before a final report is done in September, project managers reported Friday to members of the four-county group seeking safety improvements for the nearly 55 miles of state highway. The study will cover the road from U.S. 30/U.S. 23 interchange near Upper Sandusky in Wyandot County to Ohio 2 in Ottawa County. Mike Stormer is project manager with state Department of Transportation District 2, Bowling Green, and Vickie Wildeman is project manager with DLZ, the Toledo engineering company hired by the state to do the study. They explained the study, services offered by the engineering firm to complete the study, expectations from the study and establishing a core group of individuals from the four counties to work with the project managers. While the Transportation Coalition of North Central Ohio members would like a cost estimate, it is too early for such information, Stormer said, since a project has not been developed yet. There were various sources for funds presented during the meeting, held at North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Tiffin, and hosted by North Central Ohio Council of Governments. And while the transportation department will work with the group to secure funds it controls, Stormer said, the counties, individually and/or collectively, will have to seek and provide some funds, too. If the project cost is at least $12 million it could be submitted to the Transportation Review Advisory Council, a group which recommends various projects for state construction funds. Also, a Transportation Improvement District designation through the state could provide a maximum of $250,000 per project for engineering, design, right of way acquisition or construction along the state highway. Another funding source is federal money through the federal Small City Program. Communities with populations of 5,000 to 25,000 are eligible which includes Fremont, Tiffin and Upper Sandusky within the four-county area. Average traffic volumes, estimated for 2020 and 2040, have been divided into six segments along Ohio 53: from Ohio 2 to the turnpike, 8,200 vehicles in 2020 and 8,900 vehicles in 2040; the turnpike to U.S. 20, 10,300 each year; U.S. 20 to Ohio 12, 12,500 and 14,100; Ohio 12 to Tiffin northern corporation limit, 7,200 and 8,900; City of Tiffin, 9,500 and 10,800; and U.S. 224 to U.S. 23, 4,700 to 5,600. The traffic volume has resulted in 455 accidents, according to data collected from 2010 to 2012, and six fatalities. In 2010 there were 144 accidents, or 32 percent; in 2011, 175 accidents, or 38 percent; and in 2012, 136 accidents, or 30 percent. About 55 percent of the accidents did not occur at an intersection, while 63 percent of the crashes happened on dry pavement. Seneca County, with 19 miles of the road, had the highest accident total with 244 accidents including three fatalities during the three years, while Ottawa County, with 12 miles, had 19 accidents including two fatalities. Seneca County's total included 105 accidents in Tiffin, over 3.5 miles. Wyandot County had 33 accidents over 3.5 miles, and Sandusky County had 149 accidents over 14 miles, including one fatality. While the traffic volume estimates were for 2020 and beyond, Stormer said he hoped improvements could begin soon after completion of the study and any project design. The project managers did not want traffic estimates to be outdated before any work begins, he said. A meeting with the core group will be held in April, the draft will be submitted to the transportation department in July prior to the meeting with county representatives. Likewise, the final report will be submitted to the transportation department in September prior to its release later that month. Prior to the meeting, DLZ distributed a questionnaire for comments on specific locations which have safety-related issues. Wildeman said among those listed were: U.S. 23/U.S. 30 ramp to Ohio 53; Ohio 53, from McCutchenville to Tiffin; the railroad crossing south of McCutchenville; and Seneca County intersections at county roads 6, 52 and 14, and township roads 26 and 54. She said utility or environmental issues include: a cemetery near Sandusky County 7; the section from Upper Sandusky to McCutchenville is built on swamp land; and there are several historic properties near the road. The counties would like the road to be upgraded to Super 2 highway status with wider shoulders and left turn lanes at some intersections.

By JIM MAURER FOR THE REVIEW TIMES TIFFIN — A draft report of the Ohio 53 study is expected to be presented in July before a final report is done in September, project managers reported Friday to members of the four-county group seeking safety improvements for the nearly 55 miles of state highway. The study will cover the road from U.S. 30/U.S. 23 interchange near Upper Sandusky in Wyandot County to Ohio 2 in Ottawa County. Mike Stormer is project manager with state Department of Transportation District 2, Bowling Green, and Vickie Wildeman is project manager with DLZ, the Toledo engineering company hired by the state to do the study. They explained the study, services offered by the engineering firm to complete the study, expectations from the study and establishing a core group of individuals from the four counties to work with the project managers. While the Transportation Coalition of North Central Ohio members would like a cost estimate, it is too early for such information, Stormer said, since a project has not been developed yet. There were various sources for funds presented during the meeting, held at North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Tiffin, and hosted by North Central Ohio Council of Governments. And while the transportation department will work with the group to secure funds it controls, Stormer said, the counties, individually and/or collectively, will have to seek and provide some funds, too. If the project cost is at least $12 million it could be submitted to the Transportation Review Advisory Council, a group which recommends various projects for state construction funds. Also, a Transportation Improvement District designation through the state could provide a maximum of $250,000 per project for engineering, design, right of way acquisition or construction along the state highway. Another funding source is federal money through the federal Small City Program. Communities with populations of 5,000 to 25,000 are eligible which includes Fremont, Tiffin and Upper Sandusky within the four-county area. Average traffic volumes, estimated for 2020 and 2040, have been divided into six segments along Ohio 53: from Ohio 2 to the turnpike, 8,200 vehicles in 2020 and 8,900 vehicles in 2040; the turnpike to U.S. 20, 10,300 each year; U.S. 20 to Ohio 12, 12,500 and 14,100; Ohio 12 to Tiffin northern corporation limit, 7,200 and 8,900; City of Tiffin, 9,500 and 10,800; and U.S. 224 to U.S. 23, 4,700 to 5,600. The traffic volume has resulted in 455 accidents, according to data collected from 2010 to 2012, and six fatalities. In 2010 there were 144 accidents, or 32 percent; in 2011, 175 accidents, or 38 percent; and in 2012, 136 accidents, or 30 percent. About 55 percent of the accidents did not occur at an intersection, while 63 percent of the crashes happened on dry pavement. Seneca County, with 19 miles of the road, had the highest accident total with 244 accidents including three fatalities during the three years, while Ottawa County, with 12 miles, had 19 accidents including two fatalities. Seneca County’s total included 105 accidents in Tiffin, over 3.5 miles. Wyandot County had 33 accidents over 3.5 miles, and Sandusky County had 149 accidents over 14 miles, including one fatality. While the traffic volume estimates were for 2020 and beyond, Stormer said he hoped improvements could begin soon after completion of the study and any project design. The project managers did not want traffic estimates to be outdated before any work begins, he said. A meeting with the core group will be held in April, the draft will be submitted to the transportation department in July prior to the meeting with county representatives. Likewise, the final report will be submitted to the transportation department in September prior to its release later that month. Prior to the meeting, DLZ distributed a questionnaire for comments on specific locations which have safety-related issues. Wildeman said among those listed were: U.S. 23/U.S. 30 ramp to Ohio 53; Ohio 53, from McCutchenville to Tiffin; the railroad crossing south of McCutchenville; and Seneca County intersections at county roads 6, 52 and 14, and township roads 26 and 54. She said utility or environmental issues include: a cemetery near Sandusky County 7; the section from Upper Sandusky to McCutchenville is built on swamp land; and there are several historic properties near the road. The counties would like the road to be upgraded to Super 2 highway status with wider shoulders and left turn lanes at some intersections.