Macedonia -- State Route 8 will remain the same despite an effort to turn the busy highway into an interstate.

The Ohio Department of Transportation recently declined a proposal from the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study to redesignate Route 8 as Interstate 380.

AMATS had last October proposed that Route 8 be redesignated Interstate 380 from the Interstate 76/77 central interchange in Akron to Interstate 271 in Macedonia, an 18-mile stretch.

AMATS director Jason Segedy said ODOT officials told him the proposal would be too expensive.

"I recently got a letter back from ODOT director Jerry Wray saying they are not interested at this time primarily because it's an extra cost to the department," Segedy told the News Leader March 13.

Segedy said AMATS had thought the change would benefit the area.

Advantages mentioned in the proposal include raising the road's profile with businesses and travelers looking for attractions, such as the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Blossom Music Center.

But ODOT officials did not agree.

"They feel like the road is already significant enough and has generated economic opportunity," said Segedy.

"I have heard people say that Route 8 should become an interstate for years now," said Segedy. "Many people have contacted me saying they have written similar letters to ODOT in the past."

In a Feb. 21 letter to AMATS, Wray said does not see an immediate need to change Route 8 to an interstate.

"From both a safety and mobility perspective, our department understands the importance of State Route 8 which now carries in excess of 120,000 vehicles per day," Wray stated.

"ODOT will set a record this year for snow and ice removal in terms of labor, equipment and materials," he added. "Designating State Route 8 to an interstate route would result in significant costs in sign replacements, additional maintenance personnel and facilities and materials.

"To spend millions of dollars to add the State Route 8 facility to the interstate highway system would be costly and not prudent given the demand on our finite resources," he said.

ODOT spokesperson Steve Faulkner told the News Leader March 13 a lot goes into changing a road to an interstate.

"We would have to deal with the maintenance function which includes snow and ice removal, resurfacing and just the general upkeep of the road," said Faulkner. "Modifications of the road such as types or widths of lanes could have to be changed to conform to interstate policies."

Faulkner said these costs can add up quickly.

Segedy said he hopes to one day convince ODOT that the redesignation of Route 8 to Interstate 380 is a worthwhile idea. He said AMATS will continue to try to dialogue with the ODOT to persuade them to reconsider.


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