PORTAGE | The city's Traffic Commission will once again take a look at installing a guardrail along the east side of Airport Road.
The issue has been a matter of discussion by the city for several years after Robbins Ditch was cleaned, leaving a deep ditch running parallel to Airport Road between Lute and Robbins roads.
The matter was brought up again Thursday at the commission's meeting after members approved installing a guardrail along the north side of Lenburg Road west of the Lenburg farm. The commission gave the street department administration the authority to determine the length of the guardrail to be place near a curved portion of the roadway. A street light will also likely be installed in the area.
The Airport Road situation, is not as quick a fix.
Director of Public Works A.J. Monroe said the city was selected to receive a federal grant some years ago. The plan was to use the $50,000 to conduct a study to move the ditch to the east. However, that grant has been stalled at the state level and likely the city will not see the funding.
Another issue is that the roadway is very close in spots to the ditch, separate at points by slightly more than a foot of land.
Portage police Capt. Ross Haynes, a commission member, said the area of Airport Road is heavily traveled by new drivers. Airport Road is a direct route to Portage High School.
Haynes said there have been a few accidents in the area that landed vehicles in the ditch, including a police officer who ended up in the ditch when he swerved to avoid an accident.
City Engineer John Hannon said a possible solution would be to install a pipe in the ditch and cover it over.
However, members agreed that would be costly. Members said they would again study the issue and hope to come up with a viable solution.