Kresge night work to start

Widening of Kresge Drive — one of Amherst’s busiest commercial streets — is set to begin Sept. 11.

D.L. Smith Concrete & Design of Milan has been hired for the $140,000 job, which city council approved late last year.

Mayor Mark Costilow asked the legislative body Tuesday for an extra $19,000 to have D.L. Smith do the work at night.

He hopes that will make the project quicker while easing traffic problems and leaving access to area businesses during the day.

Crews will generally work from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., though some parts of the project will have to be done during daylight hours.

The effort will result in a third lane on Kresge Drive as part of a deal with developer Victor Nardini.

This year he built an expansion of Century Plaza. It includes Jimmy John’s, Amherst Dry Cleaners, and Cricket.

As part of the site approval process, and because of traffic jam worries, the city asked Nardini to pay $65,000 to help widen the road.

D.L. Smith will also make some sign changes, put down new striping, and raise an additional stoplight. Costilow said that will help with traffic flow on Rt. 58 as well.

Traffic lights on Rt. 58 are controlled by cameras that count cars and adjust to handle stop-and-go problems. About 22,000 cars per day pass through the busy commercial stretch between Cooper Foster Park Road and Rt. 2, according to a Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency study.

“A lot of people don’t realize this — when it’s at its worst is when safety vehicles go through there, the sirens go and turn the lights all red,” the mayor said. “It takes a few signal cycles to get back to good timing and traffic gets held up. So a lot of times when people are experiencing a bad traffic back-up it’s because a safety vehicle has been through there and the lights take some time balance out the flow.”

The Kresge project could take as little as two weeks or stretch as long as a month to complete.

During that time, two large changeable message boards will be erected on opposite ends of the construction zone to direct drivers.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk