A project to improve Clinton Road at its intersection with Route 30 is progressing, but the road closure is causing local businesses to deal with lost patrons and additional travel costs.
Findlay manager Gary Klingman said the state Department of Transportation is on schedule with plans to reopen Clinton Road on Oct. 10 and to continue landscaping and other related work until Oct. 26.
Janoski's Farm and Greenhouse, 1714 Route 30, has lost customers during the road work due to detours and unclear signs, business owner Sonny Janoski said.
"We'll see benefits when it's done, but it's really hurting us right now," he said. "The detour's so confusing. We're not seeing near as many customers."
Beginning Sept. 10, PennDOT closed the intersection, eliminating an important link between Route 30 and the Clinton interchange of Interstate 376, near Pittsburgh International Airport.
The resulting detours have meant longer travel times and additional costs for Air Ground Xpress, a 24/7 trucking company with headquarters on Matchette Road, near Route 30.
AGX is spending "probably several hundred dollars a day" on tolls for 50 to 75 tractor-trailers to travel on the Findlay Connector, or Pennsylvania Turnpike 576, between Route 30 and the airport, sales vice president Ron Sayer said. "It's put a real crimp [on]us. Not only is it increasing [run] times, it's costing us a fortune."
However, Mr. Sayer expected the Clinton Road improvements to ultimately ease truck navigation and improve travel times.
Ed Kosis, owner of Fast Eddie's Food-N-Fuel, 1424 Route 30, said business has decreased about 25 percent because of the detours.
"But in the long run, [the work] is going to be a huge benefit for the community," he said. "It's much needed and a long time coming, and I'm glad it's happening."
Mr. Kosis said his cashiers are going through $200 in quarters a day, rather than the usual $50, because they're making change for drivers heading to the Findlay Connector toll road.
Although many drivers are using the Findlay Connector as an alternative, the posted detour is from Route 30 to the Route 22/30 eastbound ramp in Imperial and then to westbound I-376 (Parkway West).
From Clinton Road, the detour is the same in the opposite direction.
PennDOT expanded its detour signs after complaints from some Clinton Road property owners who were upset about vehicles missing or ignoring detour signs and turning around in their driveways and parking lots, Mr. Klingman said.
"[PennDOT] re-evaluated the traffic plan and they've revised it, and I think they've done a better job," Mr. Klingman said.
The township encouraged the addition of more signs -- including electronic message boards on I-376 near Settlers Ridge and in Beaver County -- and installation of a barricade near the public works garage on Clinton Road to prevent traffic from advancing to the closure point, he said.
Mr. Janoski said the detours are difficult to explain to customers, and the shorter, easier route to his farm business is the Findlay Connector.
The toll highway, with a Route 30 exit, connects Route 22 in Washington County with I-376 at the airport. Cars pay 50 cents. Truck tolls depend on weight.
Mr. Klingman said the township has seen more traffic on the Findlay Connector, on some side streets such as Campmeeting Road, and on Route 30 where some temporary lane closures and delays have occurred in the work zone.
The $454,585 project by contractor Lane Construction Corp. involves leveling and widening Clinton Road, adding a right-turn lane onto Route 30, installing traffic signal sensors and building an island with a walkway.
The work is expected to improve sight distance and the turning radius for large trucks.
A house and the former Mamone's Restaurant were demolished to make way for the widening.
About 450 local residents and businesses had received a letter alerting them to the road project, Mr. Klingman said.
About 7,429 vehicles use Clinton Road on an average day, according to PennDOT.
Mr. Janoski looked forward to the Clinton Road-Route 30 intersection reopening with improvements.
"It's been a bad interchange for the last 50 years," he said.
Andrea Iglar, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.