Monday, July 22, 2019 Elyria 68°
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Drivers, prepare for detours in Elyria

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    West Avenue is closed between Broad Street and the entrance to McDonald’s for road work Friday. This view is from West Avenue looking south toward Broad Street.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Starting Tuesday, motorists and citizens in Elyria will see many more orange barrels as the city and state kick off four road improvement projects.

Already closed between Broad Street and Kerstetter Way downtown, West Avenue will be closed for nearly two months for a water main project. Chestnut Ridge Road will be down to one lane, westbound only in the city, while surface improvements are made.

North Abbe Road will have two projects — a minor one starting Tuesday, and a major one that will change traffic patterns on the heavily-

traveled road for up to a year or more, according to the city.

Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said she understands the traffic delays, detours and headaches this summer’s work will cause for motorists, but said relief will come by this fall.

She also said the city is in constant contact with the Elyria school district to alert it to bus routes that may have to change as work progresses. Maps of detours will be posted soon on the city’s website.

“We are looking at these (projects) as puzzle pieces, and timing them to make it all the least disruptive to motorists and citizens,” Siwierka said.

City Engineer John Schneider explained: “If, like Burns Road was during the recent Gulf Road project, a road is being used as a detour during a major road project, it makes no sense to fix the road until it has fulfilled its use as a detour route.”

West Avenue

Starting Tuesday, West Avenue from Broad Street north to the curve where Lake Avenue begins south of Parkview Court will be closed for seven weeks while contractors install a new water main.

Schneidersaid Kerstetter Way will not be accessible from West Avenue during this time, though drive-through traffic into the McDonald’s at 595 Broad St. will be maintained, he said.

Meanwhile, anyone seeking to get to the East Falls Riverwalk will have to access Kerstetter Way from Broad Street.

Schneider said the contractor has up to 50 days to finish the project, though it is likely to be finished prior to deadline.

The city also has opened bids for the subsequent resurfacing of West Avenue, and is developing a plan of attack for that project, Schneider said. That project will see West Avenue and Lake Avenue resurfaced from Fourth Street to Furnace Street.

Also, because the construction of the new Central Branch Library at Broad Street and East Avenue will affect Pioneer Plaza, the Elyria Farmers Market will move to East Falls Riverwalk this summer, Siwierka said.

Invest Elyria announced the new location in March. The farmers market runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, June 15 through mid-September.

Events around the annual Kerstetter 5K run and 1-mile fun run July 13 will take place at the Elyria police station, and the farmers market will start later that day, Siwierka said.

Chestnut Ridge Road

Chestnut Ridge Road will be converted into a westbound-only, one-way road from state Route 57 starting Tuesday. Electronic message boards recently were posted alerting motorists to the resurfacing work.

Chestnut Ridge Road will be repaved from Dewhurst Road to Highland Park Drive, using money from the city, the Ohio Public Works Commission and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.

Eastbound Chestnut Ridge Road will be closed to all traffic at East River Road, eastbound to state Route 57, and motorists will be asked to follow the posted detour, according to the city.

The south, or eastbound lane, will be completed first as it needs the most work. Workers will then switch to the north, or westbound lane to finish the project, Schneider said.

“So for the second half, you’ll drive on the wrong side of the road” but always westbound, he said.

Making Chestnut Ridge Road one-way from state Route 57 to at least Highland Park Drive will reduce the time the repair and resurfacing work takes by four weeks, Siwierka said. The work is expected to be done in late July, prior to the start of school in August.

Workers also will build a sidewalk on the south side of Chestnut Ridge Road from South Abbe Road to Wynn Avenue, Schneider said. The edges of the road will be built up as well, along with minor drainage work, he said.

Additional traffic can be expected on Dewhurst, East River, Fuller and Grafton roads during this project. Schneider said the contractor, at his own expense, will put up 75 detour signs so that detours are “clearly marked” for motorists.

That project should wrap up before crews begin resurfacing the 19 streets City Council chose to fix with $1.3 million in Issue 6 funds approved by voters.

The repairs are portions of Georgetown Avenue, East River Street, Park Avenue, Prospect Street, Belmont Avenue, Morgan Avenue, Dartmouth Circle, Songbird Street, University Avenue, Columbus Street, Fifth Street, Eighth Street,

13th Street, Gates Avenue, West 19th Street, Oak Street, Brandston Avenue and Fairwood Boulevard. Three additional projects to be done if there is money left in Issue 6 funds are portions of Carol Lane, Walnut Street and Irondale Street.

North Abbe Road

Also starting Tuesday, construction crews will replace guardrails and do concrete and sidewalk work alongside North Abbe Road under the Ohio Turnpike.

The project is being paid for by the Ohio Turnpike Commission and is considered part of the funding for the Chestnut Ridge Road project, Schneider said.

The guardrails, which Schneider said are in bad shape, will be replaced and drainage issues that have left standing water on sidewalks will be fixed.

Traffic will be maintained in both directions during the two-week project, but lanes could be restricted or traffic limited to one lane at times, city officials said.

North Abbe Road — East Side Sewer Relief

The biggest, longest project of those coming up this summer is the next step in the East Side Relief Sewer project, which will affect traffic on the city’s east side for a year — less if two contractors are involved, Schneider said.

Bids for the project are due June 6, according an invitation to bid posted on the city’s website. The invitation also states that all work on the project must be completed by July 12, 2020.

The project involves closing North Abbe Road from Whitman Boulevard to Howard Street or Hilliard Road so workers can place a 78-inch storage pipe 30 feet underground, connecting the city wastewater treatment plant on Gulf Road to the Eastern Heights neighborhood.

It will take the contractor 2 1/2 months just to cross North Abbe Road with the pipe, Schneider said, because contractors have to locate all utilities below the road and set the pipe without disrupting them. The pipe is being specially made and shipped from Texas, he said.

Firefighting services from Elyria Fire Station No. 4 on North Abbe Road between Bedford Avenue and Howard Street will be maintained throughout the project by using the rear entrance of the station, Siwierka said.

Schneider said NOACA estimates 20,000 vehicles a day travel on North Abbe Road. The official detour is from state Route 254 to state Route 57, though Schneider said locals likely will create their own routes around the work.

Knowing that the project was coming, Elyria last year paved Georgetown Avenue from Duffey Street north to Livermore Lane. The northern section of Georgetown Avenue, from Livermore Lane to Rosewood Avenue, will be paved this summer or early fall with Issue 6 money, City Council decided.

Other projects

Additional delays will take place this summer as the Ohio Department of Transportation performs micro-surfacing work at the intersections of all state routes in the city, Schneider said.

This will cause half-day or one-day traffic delays in places as crews put down a rougher aggregate in the high-speed lanes of those intersections to create more friction and slow traffic, he said.

Other roads being paved this year in the city, with a mixture of funding sources, are:

  •  Cleveland Street from state Route 57 to the eastern city limits
  •  State Route 57 from Schadden Road to the northern city limits
  •  State Route 113 from state Route 57 to Clemens Avenue
  •  Taylor Street from state Route 57 to Winckles Street
  •  Ford Road from Regency Court to Midway Boulevard

Ohio Public Works Projects can’t start until that agency’s fiscal year begins July 1, Schneider said.

Fences also are expected to go up around the Ely Square fountain next week as the city embarks on a replacement project, Siwierka said.

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.
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