Above is a concept drawing of the proposed roundabout on State Route 108 north of Napoleon. The red line on the left indicates the placement of a sidewalk.

Napoleon was favored with good timing on its application for a road safety project on State Route 108 just north of the city.

“Since I’ve started as city manager, I’ve heard people talking about that intersection being a problem,” said Napoleon City Manager Joel Mazur.

Those problems include 17 total crashes from 2016-2018 at the intersection of Rte. 108 and the on and off ramps for U.S. Route 24. Eight of those crashes resulted in injuries. The majority of the total crashes were motorists rear ending another.

In addition, Napoleon councils for years have advocated for a sidewalk to be placed from the area of a shopping center on Scott Street out to an area containing several hotels and an apartment complex on the edge of town.

“ODOT (the Ohio Department of Transportation) didn’t like the project (initially) because there have been no fatalities there,” Mazur said.

However, Napoleon applied for a safety project through ODOT to improve the situation. While it seemed unlikely it would be approved, Mazur said timing was on the city’s side.

He added while the application scored fairly low, being around the mid 30s with the highest-scored projects scoring in the mid 60s, Mazur said many other projects scored even lower than Napoleon’s, and there were few projects that applied.

“We’re very fortunate to have this application approved,” Mazur said. “It’s something we feel locally is needed, and sometimes the state officials don’t see these issues, so that’s why we advocate for them.”

The project is estimated to cost $3.9 million, with Napoleon’s share being $391,000. It would construct a roundabout at the intersection, including the sidewalk.

Mazur said statistics show roundabouts, though relatively new to this area, generally reduce fatal accidents by 90% and reduce injury crashes by 76%. Overall accidents are reduced by 35%.

“We expect to see less accidents overall and less severe accidents,” Mazur said.

Construction would begin in the state’s fiscal year 2022.

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I started at the Northwest Signal in 1994 and became editor in 2004. I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1994.

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