Construction closes Rt. 261 for 36 hours

The Ohio Department of Transportation will close State Route 261 between State Route 59 and Summit Street from 7 a.m. today to 7 p.m. tomorrow.

The road will be closed due to placement of a prefabricated bridge structure over State route 261, according to a press release from the Kent Division of Engineering.

All appropriate signs for the detour will be placed prior to the closure dates.

“It’s a collaborative project between Kent State University and ODOT,” said Chris Tolnar, acting superintendent of engineering. “The city of Kent is acting as an information agency to notify the public of the closure.”

Tolnar said the road closure is necessary to allow a crane to sit in the middle of the road to set the prefabricated structure in place. He said truck traffic will increase as well.

The 142-foot steel footbridge containing a concrete deck will cost $650,000, said Thomas Clapper, senior assistant to the vice president of administration at Kent State. He said the bridge will provide an important link in the Portage Hike and Bike Trail, which stretches from the Towpath Trail near Akron to Warren.

The project, which began four years ago, is partially funded by a federal grant of $277,000 transportation enhancement dollars, Clapper said. The balance comes from Kent State University.

-Josh Echt