Lisbon chief satisfied with Saltwell closure

LISBON – Police Chief Mike Abraham was concerned when Village Council agreed to close Saltwell Road during this year’s Columbiana County Fair that it might create more traffic headaches than it alleviated.

He was pleasantly surprised to learn otherwise.

“It really did not affect us and might have actually helped us,” Abraham told council during this week’s meeting.

Council agreed in June to close the eastern half of Saltwell Road between state Route 164 and North Market Street after being asked to do so by the county fair board, which wanted to reduce the risk of traffic and pedestrian accidents during the fair. A campground and parking lot are located on the north side of Saltwell Road, requiring fair-goers to cross the road on foot or by tram to get to the fairgrounds.

Some village officials were concerned about possible traffic congestion resulting from the closure because of all the employees employed at the various government office buildings located at the other end of Saltwell Road who would have to drive through town to get to and from work Monday through Friday.

Abraham said he had his dispatchers keep a separate log of traffic calls related to the fair and there did not seem to be an appreciable increase. He said Tuesday of fair week was the only time traffic backed up significantly on North Market Street.

“Tuesday was the worst day and you would have thought Friday and Saturday would have been the worst,” he said. “One (day) out five isn’t bad.”

In other action:

– Abraham reported he was meeting with Ohio Department of Transportation officials on Sept. 4 to review synchronization of the new traffic signals to improve traffic flow through the village. The timing at the traffic lights on Lincoln Way and Market Street are such that it often results in long lines of traffic, and he said ODOT is willing to study the problem.

– Council agreed to switch cell phone carriers from AT&T to Verizon Wireless for the fire department and water department, a move expected to save the village $80 per month.

– Agreed to sell the mini-vacuum device to the village of New Waterford for $3,000. The device was used by the street department to clean debris from catch basins and was given to them by the water department after it purchased a larger one. Street Foreman Jim Oliver said they had no need for the machine because they used the water department’s vacuum device to unclog catch basins.