Building a Better Way: The Summit Street Improvement Project | Kent State University

Building a Better Way: The Summit Street Improvement Project

East Summit Street, which has been identified by the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study as the most congested roadway in Summit and Portage counties, is preparing for a facelift. The Summit Street: Building a Better Way project is designed to transform a one-mile stretch of East Summit Street that runs through the heart of Kent State University’s Kent Campus.

The enhancements include the addition of two roundabouts, a boulevard, bike and walking paths, and more sidewalks and crosswalks. These improvements are necessary because East Summit Street is a high-traffic, high-accident area and a dangerous corridor for pedestrians. The project, primarily financed through federal and state funds, will significantly reduce traffic congestion and create a safer and more attractive roadway.

The city of Kent is overseeing the project, and the contractor bid was awarded in August to Kenmore Construction. While the preliminary utility work is slated to begin this fall, the majority of the construction work, which will disrupt the normal traffic flow, is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2016. The project is expected to be complete in 2018.

“Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians will see some intermittent lane closures on Summit Street starting this fall, but the start of the one-way, one-lane eastbound traffic pattern most likely won’t happen until next spring,” says Jim Bowling, Kent city engineer.

Bowling adds that the normal construction period for road projects is March through November.

The city and Kent State will be working together to minimize any traffic disruptions for those who travel the roadway on a regular basis, says Tom Euclide, Kent State’s associate vice president for facilities, planning and operations.

“The project is expected to take more than two years to complete, and during that time, motorists will continue to have access to all buildings and facilities along the construction corridor,” Euclide says.

PARTA will also continue to provide bus service, although the routes may be altered.

A website has been launched at www.kent.edu/summitstreet to provide timely information about the project including detours, bus routes, parking and other relevant information. There also is a video showing the transformation of Summit Street at the project completion.

Questions about the project should be sent to summitst@kent.edu.