STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – A provision inside the 2024-25 Ohio Transportation Budget is causing opposition between two Northeast Ohio city leaders.
House Bill 23, which has already been passed by the Ohio House, has a provision within Section 5501.60 that would require an interchange be added between Brunswick and Strongsville between exits 225 and 231 on Interstate 71.
“Howe Road and 82 need help,” Strongsville Mayor Thomas Perciak said. “We cannot continue the traffic jams that we have there.”
Perciak said this topic has been a 20-year discussion that precedes his administration.
“Everybody thinks this is just being done as a convenience – it is not,” he said. “It’s being done, as we consider it as a necessary safety issue in our community.”
The provision would require a highway interchange every four and a half miles if two cities with the population of 35K are in different counties, and one of those counties must have a population size of more than a million.
“Very specific language that applies, right now only to Brunswick and Strongsville, but could apply in the future areas outside of Franklin County or Columbus,” Brunswick City Council President Nick Hanek said.
Hanek is not in favor of this proposed change because he strongly feels it impacts the homeowners along the interstate.
“City council has two times passed resolutions in opposition to this for a number of reasons, not just cost,” he said. “There is a major jet fuel line on Boston Road that would require being moved.”
The purposed interchange would go at one of three places along Interstate 71 – Drake Road, Boston Road, or Grafton Road.
“It would create a highway exit into residential areas that would destroy homes, change the character, change it from residential to commercial, and otherwise reshape a community,” Hanek said. “Not in a positive way.”
Hanek said Strongsville’s traffic issues shouldn’t fall on Brunswick.
“It should not be at the expense of the residents of Brunswick, at the expense of Medina County, and disrupt our community to the south,” he said.
Perciak said this issue can’t be brushed aside anymore.
“Everyone who lives in this town understands that this has gone on for far too long,” he said. “It’s time to either make it happen or put it to bed once and for all.”
House Bill 23 is being reviewed in the Ohio Senate by the Transportation Committee.