ODOT Prepares for Route 224 Safety Upgrades

BOARDMAN TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Safety upgrades to a nearly 2-mile stretch of U.S. Route 224 are intended to alleviate conditions that contributed to almost 1,900 crashes over a five-year period, an Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman said.

The proposed project, estimated at $4.7 million, is in the environmental engineering phase and is expected to begin construction in spring 2026, according to an ODOT release. The project will cover Route 224 from Market Street east to Tiffany Boulevard, as well as work on Market, South Avenue and Southern and Tiffany boulevards. 

A virtual public open house for the U.S. Route 224 corridor safety improvements project started Monday and runs through March 1. Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin this spring, followed by construction starting in spring 2026.

The department has been looking at the Route 224 corridor for many years and made several adjustments to alleviate congestion along the heavily traveled roadway, said Ray Marsch, public information office for the ODOT District 4 office. Daily traffic on that section of Route 224 averages 33,382 vehicles.

ODOT has a list of intersections it has identified as dangerous or needing improvement, and the Route 224 Boardman stretch has three in the top 50, said Jason Loree, township administrator.

A five-year study conducted by ODOT found nearly 1,900 crashes along the corridor over a five-year period, more than 30% resulting in an injury and three fatalities, Marsch reported.

“We’ve been monitoring the area for multiple years, making tweaks and changes to the corridor,” he said. Ultimately, it comes down to needing to widen the road to accommodate the traffic volume and allowing motorists to make U-turns to help alleviate congestion.

According to ODOT materials, the proposed plans include adding a third lane eastbound and westbound; installing median dividers and modifying commercial driveways; installing turn lanes at select intersections and upgrading traffic signals and signing; and adding pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks and improved crossings at intersections along the corridor.

The township supports efforts to improve safety on Route 224, Loree said. Proposed work at Tiffany Boulevard, which “sometimes gets really jammed up,” could alleviate issues there, and another project involving the left turn at Southern Boulevard should be helpful with traffic flow there.

“At the same time, we want to make sure, because this is a business corridor, that we’re not interfering too much with the business traffic flow,” he continued. 

Bergen Giordani, co-owner of Gorant Chocolatier, which recently moved to 400 Boardman-Poland Road, echoed those concerns. Bergen, who also co-owns one Hot Cookie and OH Donut Co., had to cope with construction-related disruption when the stores were located in downtown Youngstown and eventually pulled out. 

She also said that when ODOT did work on the section of 224 where One Hot Cookie is located, the department scheduled night work and “did everything possible” to minimize disruptions to businesses.

“So I’m hopeful that same mindset is utilized when they’re moving forward with this project,” she said. “I also hope that they would take the holiday season into account. … Not that there’s an ideal time to be under construction, but definitely the holiday season in the retail heart of Mahoning County is not it.”

Those interested can get more information about the project and provide comments HERE.

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