The freeways of Akron, Ohio
include two major interstate highways, one interstate spur, two Ohio State routes and one U.S. highway.
Akron is served by two major Interstates that bisect the city. Unlike other cities, the bisection does not occur in the Central Business District, nor do the Interstates serve the downtown region, rather The Akron Innerbelt
and to a much lesser extent Ohio State Highway 8
serve these functions.
- Interstate 77 connects Canton, Ohio to Cleveland, Ohio. It features 15 interchanges, four of which permit freeway to freeway movements. It runs north-south at the southern part of the city to its concurrency with Interstate 76 (east) where it takes a westerly turn and after the concurrency takes a northwest turn. The cosigned section is highly congested and under review by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
- Interstate 76 connects Medina, Ohio to Youngstown, Ohio and farther environs. It runs east-west and has 18 interchanges four of which are freeway to freeway. The East Leg was rebuilt in the 1990s to feature 6 lanes and longer merge lanes. The concurrency with Interstate 77 is eight lanes, with extremely close interchange spacing, high crash rates and heavy congestion. The Kenmore Leg is a four lane leg that is slightly less than two miles long and connects to I-277.
- Interstate 277 is an east-west spur that it forms with US 224 after I-76 splits to the north to form the Kenmore Leg. It is six lane and cosigned with U.S. 224.
- The Akron Innerbelt is a six lane, 2.24 mile spur from the I-76/I-77 concurrency and serves the urban core of the city. Its ramps are directional from the Interstates so it only serves west side drivers. ODOT is considering changing this design to attract more traffic to the route. The freeway comes to an abrupt end near the northern boundary of downtown where it becomes Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The freeway itself is officially known as "The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Freeway". The freeway was originally designed to connect directly to Route 8, but plans were laid to rest in the mid seventies due to financial troubles. Advocacy groups such as the Akron Innerbelt Integration Initiative have promoted the idea of finishing the freeway, a contrast with the city administration that would like it destroyed and redeveloped. No announcements on its future have been made.
- Route 8 the original state highway is a limited access route that connects Akron's northern suburbs with the Interstates. When I-77 moves to the west with I-76, Route 8 begins. The second freeway in Akron to be completed, it went through a major overhaul in 2003 with brand new ramps and access roads. In 2007 ODOT will begin to limit access on Route 8 from Route 303 to I-271, providing a high speed alternative to Cleveland.