LISBON - The Columbiana County Fair Board wants a portion of Saltwell Road closed during this year's week-long event to eliminate a traffic hazard for people staying in the fair campgrounds.
Fair board official Robert Crosser attended this week's Village Council meeting to seek permission as part of their efforts to close Saltwell Road from state Route 164 to Applegrove Apartments. He said Center Township trustees have already agreed to close the township's portion of Saltwell Road, with council's approval needed to close it to Applegrove.
This means access to county municipal court, the county government services building and the other agencies on that section of Saltwell Road would be from state Route 45/North Market Street in Lisbon.
"I know we're going to make the people mad" who work in those agencies and use Saltwell Road to get to work, Crosser said. "It's going to be hectic, but we have to stop that traffic."
The county fair campgrounds are located on both sides of this section of Saltwell Road, and campers and visitors who park on the north side of the road either walk or are transported across the road to the fairgrounds via a shuttle wagon a wagon pulled by a tractor.
Crosser said the area has always been a safety concern but the problem worsened after they opened the north campground last year and a shuttle crossing the road was struck by a car. Another time he saw a child from the campground playing in the roadside ditch, which nearly frightened him to death.
"I know we're going to make people mad, but we have do it for the safety," he said.
Councilman Tom Darcy, who volunteers at the fair, agreed. "It is dangerous," he said.
Council seemed in favor of closing the eastern section of Saltwell Road and instructed Crosser to have a resolution for them to vote on at a special meeting scheduled for June 28. Mayor Dan Bing said this gives him time to talk about the request with police Chief Mike Abraham, who has some concerns.
Crosser said the fair board will be responsible for erecting the necessary signage and orange-barrel barricades. He said they will also put out signs for fair-goers traveling south on Route 164 directing them to cut across Adams Road to Lisbon-Canfield Road and Route 45.
Crosser said they hope to eventually open an access road linking the north campground property to Dickey Drive, which would alleviate some of the fair traffic. He said they have an easement that would allow them to put in an access road in the cul-de-sac area of the former One-Stop building.