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Ohio State Route 59: Map


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State Route 59 is an east-west route in northeastern Ohiomarker. It runs from its western terminus in downtown Akronmarker at an interchange with I-76/I-77 to its eastern terminus at State Route 5 in Ravenna Townshipmarker.

Cities and villages along route


State Route 261 intersects with State Route 59 in total, four times: on the east side of Kentmarker, at Tallmadge Avenue during its cosign with State Route 8 in Akron, at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near the Y-Bridge, and at Opportunity Parkway on the Innerbelt.


State Route 59 was certified in 1969. The general route was originally designated as State Route 36 until 1932 and as State Route 5 from 1932 to 1969; however, State Route 5 now takes a turn south on an expressway southeast of Ravenna towards I-76 rather than heading west to Cuyahoga Fallsmarker and Akron. The route is a freeway in its shared portion with State Route 8 southward from Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls. State Route 59 is signposted as following Perkins Avenue westward from State Route 8, where, at Howard Street, it becomes the freeway officially known as the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway, more commonly referred to as the Innerbelt. (Until 2007, this routing was identified in Ohio DOT records as State Route 59T, whereas State Route 59 in the records continued south along State Route 8 and ended at the Market Street (State Route 18) underpass.) The rest of the route is formed by regular roads, with the exception of the Haymaker Parkway in Kentmarker, which is a bypass with cross streets.

The section of the route that runs through Stow and Kent was widened sometime in the 1980s. The section in Cuyahoga Falls from the State Route 8 to near Victor St. was widened in 2004 to meet state requirements due to high traffic levels.

The prior alignment of State Route 59 is primarily followed by the current State Route 113.

The Innerbelt (Route 59T)

The Innerbelt looking northeast
The Innerbelt portion of State Route 59 in Akronmarker is not well utilized. Designed after almost all other highway projects in Akron were completed, the Innerbelt was envisioned as a stretch; however the only portion that was ever built was a stretch near Akron’s downtown. The freeway is designed with 6 lanes (with right of way for eight), two collector streets along the entire corridor that combined are at some points as wide as the freeway itself, and very sweeping interchanges. The ramps connecting it to Interstate 76/Interstate 77, opened October 8, 1986, more than a decade after most of the rest of the highway opened, only turn to the west, so traffic can only enter the Innerbelt if traveling east on the interstate and from the Innerbelt, vehicles can only exit west onto the interstate. While ODOT is currently evaluating changing this design, for now drivers need to take regular roads to make the connection. This was a financial concession when the southernmost part of the Innerbelt was built. The connection to the Northern Freeway (State Route 8) was never made, and a temporary link with Martin Luther King Blvd./Perkins St. became permanent.

Shortly after the connection to Interstate 76/Interstate 77, it became clear that the Innerbelt would not live up to expectations; those not served by the western ramps were not very willing to travel over five blocks of marginal roads to connect to a freeway. However, the Innerbelt’s underuse has given it an advantage few planners had foreseen. In July, 2001, the city announced that the Innerbelt would be closed for several days while a commercial was being shot. The highway was also surveyed by the producers of the movie Matrix Reloaded, as a possible shooting spot of the highway scene. Peter Novak, the Matrix's location scout said that "They were looking at finding a practical freeway to film the car chase on, which was going to be about 6 to 7 weeks of shutting down a major freeway. It was originally thought that they needed 4 to 5 miles of super highway in both directions. We sent scouts out around the world: we had people looking around Kuala Lumpur, people looking at Bangkok, people looking at the autobahn in Germany, and I personally looked through the northern United States. I don’t think we left a stone unturned, and we wound up with a freeway in Akron..." The idea was eventually scrapped, because in the event that the scene would have to be reshot, the time to reset all the cars in their start position would take too long.

Akron mayor Don Plusquellic has suggested ripping up the northern end of the freeway, making it a regular road, and developing the surrounding land. Akronmarker cannot expand its borders anymore so the city government is looking into ways of bringing about new development inside the city limits. The idea was fostered by a trip to Milwaukeemarker, in which Mayor Plusquellic saw a partially completed freeway was demolished in order to reuse the land. However, over $65,000,000 was spent to build the Innerbelt and according to current estimates $100,000,000 would have to be spent to demolish and reconstruct the corridor. A two million dollar study is currently underway at the request of city hall.

In 2007 , ODOT removed the "T" designation from SR 59T, now just designated as SR 59.


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