ELYRIA — Drivers traveling near Midway Mall over the weekend didn’t see their traffic burden eased with the openings of intersections on state Route 57 at Midway Boulevard and Griswold Road in anticipation of the demolition of the 49th Street bridge.
Instead, what motorists got Saturday and Sunday was congestion and issues with traffic signals that defaulted to a flashing light, which was problematic when attempting to cross multiple lanes of traffic on Route 57 at Griswold and Midway Boulevard.
As one resident put it on a message on Facebook, “Why did they close the bridge at 49th Street if they weren’t going to have working lights at both the intersections of Griswold Road and Midway Blvd,” asked Rachael Mierop Dykes, who said she tried to cross 57 at Midway Boulevard on Sunday morning.
“How on Earth are we supposed to cross that highway on a blinking red? Plus, if you take the Griswold intersection and want to go north, there is no left turn signal,” she said. “With the amount of traffic crossing from the mall, you are lucky to be able to make the left turn during the duration of the green. Maybe the city should have waited to close the bridge until construction was complete.”
By Monday, the lights appeared to be fixed, but the congestion was still there.
City officials said the concerns are being alleviated quickly.
“There is a lot of congestion out there, but (Ohio Department of Transportation) is fully aware of it and a contractor is working on the timing to ensure signalization is synched,” said City Engineer Tim Ujvari.
Crews did start demolishing the 49th Street bridge Monday morning.
The nearly $21 million reconstruction project is being seen as the solution to simplify navigation around Midway Mall.
But the project has not been without its issues. Even City Council members have said how traveling the area since the orange barrels have been placed has been a nightmare.
Ujvari said residents should use caution.
“There are definitely some bits and pieces that still have to come together to make it flow better,” he said.