ELYRIA — Starting Monday, a major sewer project will close a main city thoroughfare until June.
Gulf Road will close between Burns and Hilliard roads with access only permitted for residents living along that stretch of road. After significant delays due to negotiations with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the city is ready to start work on the east side sewer relief project, said city Engineer Tim Ujvari.
“We are still not done negotiating with the EPA, but we asked if we can move forward with the project, and they agreed,” Ujvari said. “This project will address the wet weather issues we continue to have. We have a lot of sewers that are combined sewers that convey sanitary waste when it’s dry and stormwater when it rains. But when we have heavy rains, they overflow, and that overflow goes into the river.”
Residents who live in flood-prone neighborhoods will know exactly what it means for a combined sewer to overflow. The remedy, Ujvari said, will be a new 78-inch-diameter sewer buried almost 30 feet deep that will snake through various parts of the city. It will take about four to five years to construct, but it has to start somewhere.
That somewhere will be along Gulf Road starting Monday.
To be completed in incremental phases, the first step of the project will begin at the entrance of the city’s Wastewater Pollution Control Plant, 1194 Gulf Road, and move south toward Whitman Boulevard. There will be no through traffic on Gulf between Hilliard and Burns until the contractor is ready to move onto the next step.
Elyria Catholic sent out an email blast about the work Thursday morning to prepare its students and staff for Monday’s change.
“The detour will take you from Burns to Abbe to Hilliard,” it said. “Due to congestion on Abbe Road, you may want to find an alternate route.”
Knowing Gulf Road is a frequent route for St. Jude School parents, a notice also was placed on the school’s Facebook page.
“We realize many of our families travel this route to get to our school, so please plan for alternate routes beginning next week,” it said.
Ujvari said the completed first phase of the project is from the wastewater plant to Whitman, from Whitman to Abbe Road and south on Abbe and under the Ohio Turnpike and state Route 57 to Poplar Road. The sewer will then turn west on Poplar back toward Gulf Road.
“This will pick up the wet weather flow in the St. Jude area that causes a lot of problems,” he said.
The portion that runs from the wastewater plant to Whitman will cost about $3 million. The entire first phase will be close to $30 million.
Topography and the needs of the city prevent the project from just going straight down Gulf Road, Ujvari said.