Construction on Taylor Road will now begin in April 2012, .
Ohio Department of Transportation and Cleveland Heights officials provided details about the project and answered questions from a crowd of about 40 residents at a Thursday night in .
City Manager Robert Downey spoke about the history of the plan, which began in 2002. The city envisioned grass medians, benches and specialized lighting in its initial proposal, he said, but officials had to revise it when no one would help pay for the more than $7 million project.
Taylor Road is not a city street, so money to repair it comes from the federal, state and county governments. The city only has $1.5 million a year to repair all roads in the city, and couldn’t afford to pay for renovations on its own.
Engineers from Wade Trim redesigned the plans to bring the price down to $5 million, but the construction company hired for the job, Perk, said it could complete the work for $3.6 million. The federal government will foot 80 percent of the bill, and the rest is paid for by several entities, Councilwoman Bonnie Caplan said, including the state and county governments. The road should have the typical 20-year lifespan.
The city paid for the engineering plans but will not need to contribute to the construction costs, Caplan said.
Taylor from Euclid Heights Boulevard to Bayreuth Road will be resurfaced, broken curbs will be repaired and drains will get an upgrade. The road will also be narrowed from seven lanes to five from Euclid Heights to Mayfield Road. The extra space will be allocated to the east side, where Severance Town Center sits.
The traffic light at the service road between Mayfield and Euclid Heights will also be removed. Forty driveway aprons will be replaced and ramps will be modified to meet ADA requirements.
There will be at least one southbound and one northbound lane open during all phases of the constrution, and the work will start at 7 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. weekdays. Delays could require weekend work, but ODOT does not forsee that.
Downey said he was disappointed that the work had turned into a “bare bones project,” but it was the only way to get money to resurface the crack-ridden road.
"We have to keep in mind that one of the major concerns is money," Caplan said.
Though city officials thought the project would take two to three years, Perk Company predicts the work will be finished in September 2012.
The project was and moved because city officials weren't sure if state money to fix the road would be included in Gov. John Kasich's new budget, Downey said. Then the project was .
Some residents who attended the meeting aren’t happy about the plans — many said they wished the extra space from the removed lanes could be allocated to the residential side instead of the commercial side. Others wished walkers and bikers were a prioirty in the plans.
"This town is not walkable for the people who have to walk in this town in the winter," one resident said.
Cleveland Heights resident Douglas Whipple filed a lawsuit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Nov. 2, and said the city was required to host a public meeting about the road project before moving forward with plans.
"When the city makes its decisions in the light of public scrutiny, they make better decisions. This is what this is about," Whipple said.
Law Director John Gibbon said there were other complaints in the lawsuit, including one that claimed the city should not have passed the ordinance under emergency. And that someone should have conducted an environmental study.
"The state filed a motion to dismiss the case," Gibbon said, adding that a hearing is scheduled the first week of December. He said that he thought if property is not disturbed in a city renovation project, an environmental assessment and hearing was not required.
Other residents said they did not receive information about the public meeting Thursday night, though Caplan insisted every resident on the road got a letter.
Still others seemed relieved that the road, which hasn't had a facelift since the '60s, was finally getting attention.
Look for more information about the lawsuit and the discussion at the meeting soon.