Project to restrict traffic on 43

Josh Johnston

Traffic around the Fairchild Avenue Bridge Project will get worse before it gets better.

Starting Monday, state Route 43 North will be restricted to one lane from Crain Avenue to south of Rockwell Street.

In order to place temporary pavement along that stretch, the city will restrict traffic to one lane. When roadwork on 43 begins in May, traffic will be redirected to the temporary pavement.

“(Drivers) should expect delays,” Kent city engineer Jim Bowling said. “(They) should plan more time for commute in the morning and afternoon.”

When completed, the project, which began construction in August, will replace the Crain Avenue bridge with a four-lane bridge, connecting Fairchild Avenue with North Water Street.

The new bridge is expected to free up the Fairchild, Crain and 43 intersection, which is the most congested intersection in Portage and Summit counties, according to a brochure created by the city.

The construction has already affected businesses in the area. Sue Helmling, owner of Digger’s Bar and Grill on the corner of 43 and Cuyahoga Street, said business has been down by 30 to 40 percent since construction began. When Dominion East Ohio Gas relocated its mainline in preparation for the street work, Helmling’s lunch crowd diminished.

“I think with people being limited to how much they have with lunch, they’re trying to not fight the construction to get here and get back to work in time,” she said.

Bowling said 43 has no viable detour route, which may not be what commuters like to hear.

“If we could have detoured them in a reasonable fashion, then it would have been done,” Bowling said. “But we couldn’t detour 20,000 vehicles a day down side streets.”

When the roadwork is complete, the 43 and Crain Avenue intersection will be eliminated and there will be additional turning lanes on Fairchild Avenue and 43. The project is on schedule and slated to be finished sometime by December 2012, according to the city of Kent’s Web site.

“This is a very congested intersection, but to make it better, we have to make it worse first,” Bowling said. “It’s like redoing the kitchen in your house or something.

“When you’re doing the remodeling, your life is more impacted — you’re eating out more, you’re adjusting, it takes more time to prepare the food. But when it’s done, you like it much better.”

Contact public affairs reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].


• Monday, March 29: State Route 43 North will be limited to one lane as temporary pavement is built.

• April 15: 43 South will be restricted to one lane as well as temporary pavement continues to be built.

• May 5: Roadwork begins on 43. Traffic will be redirected to the temporary pavement. Fairchild Avenue between Hudson Road and 43 will be closed.



• Revised plans for the Sheetz to be built on the corner of Fairchild Avenue and state Route 43 are expected to be turned in sometime this week, said Kent development engineer Jennifer Barone.

• If the plans are approved, construction could start sometime within the next month. Sheetz hopes to open by the late summer or fall, Barone said.