Updated Tue, Feb 19, 2013 2:04 pm
Motorists driving near The Plains on US Route 33 will soon see a major change at the Johnson Road intersection as the Ohio Department of Transportation announced plans Tuesday to close the exchange.
According to ODOT District 10 spokesman David Rose, the permanent closure is slated for early April.
ODOT crews will barricade County Road 7 (Johnson Road) at US 33.
Rose says Debbie Fought, head of planning for ODOT District 10, met with Athens County commissioners Tuesday during their usual weekly meeting to discuss the closure.
After a number of accidents at the intersection and drivers repeatedly ignoring a "no left turn" sign, Rose says the decision to close the intersection was largely an attempt to be progressive in upgrading the safety of the roadway.
"It's been on our safety list for some time," said Rose.
The intersection is one of two entrances to The Plains from US 33.
The Johnson Road intersection allows access to The Eclipse Company Town, a section of the HockHocking Adena Bikeway and the Athens High School, as well as the Pine Aire Village trailer park.
Rose says county commissioners and school officials gave their support to the plan in favor of safety.
According to ODOT statistics, a total of 22 accidents occurred at the intersection between 2007 and 2012, including one fatality in 2012.
Portable message boards will be installed in the area, alerting motorists of the change.
The barricade will mean the only entrance to The Plains from US 33 will be a couple of miles up the road, at the State Route 682 intersection.
There is one stop light managing westbound traffic flow exiting at that exchange.