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Taylor Road Construction Set to Begin in April 2012

Cleveland Heights and Ohio Department of Transportation representatives spoke about the plan and took questions from residents Thursday night

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.

Will Goldstein November 18, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Thanks for the update, Michelle. Any idea what side they're starting on (Euclid Hts or Bayreuth) or how long they expect to take? I'm glad to see they're starting work - it's one of the worst stretches of roads I've ever seen - but not too thrilled to see extra traffic on our (parallel) side street during construction.
Michelle Simakis (Editor) November 18, 2011 at 03:37 PM
I need to confirm this, but I believe they are starting with east and west stretches, not north and south. So phase 1 will begin on the west side and shift all traffic east from Euclid Heights to Bayreuth, and then phase II will include repair of the east side and shift traffic west. I did not see dates on the information but I'll also ask about that.
Jerry Mann November 18, 2011 at 03:48 PM
Why does it cost more to add the green space to the West side of the street? It is obvious that the city leaders do not give a damn about the residents on the west side of Taylor nor the quality of life for pedestrians along that stretch. I think the ultimate reason for this decision is that city adding green space to the east allows them the option in the future to sell that land if a developer ever wants to do something with the land on the east side of the road. There is a very strange disconnect with the City of Cleveland Heights. Civility? This plan is not civil. etc etc
Michelle Simakis (Editor) November 18, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Thanks for your question, Jerry. The engineer from Wade Trim explained this at the meeting, and I'm going to update the article soon with more details. But basically he said the sanitary sewer and water lines are on that side of the street. Removing the lanes would add about 12-24 feet of tree lawn, so both of those lines would have to be moved and replaced. He estimated that it would cost an extra $3 million just to replace those. The other issue is the driveways. They'd have to be lengthened and still gradually decline to the road. The driveways would be much lower than the height of the road, which would create drainage and engineering issues.
linda jenkins November 18, 2011 at 08:11 PM
My personal opinion about the meeting lastnight, It was very obvious there was a plan and an design already prepared for the Residents of South Taylor Rd.We were given an opportunity to ask questions,the responses were more like a promise and a reminder the deal is done.We were given a financial history that the project was originally 7 million but now it's 3 million plus.Most of the residents heard about this meeting via internet,within my block there are 4 seniors who don't have or use computers.ODOT did a great job in offering dimensions and eveverything you could ask for if You are a developer or a contractor.One resident ask the question could we start over with another plan,she was told the deal is done.On a personal note this reminded me of OBAMACARE,here is the plan,there are quite of few pages don't bother to read them ,this is the Plan live with it.I personally feel as though there should not have been a plan in it's completed version without the Residents relenvency or input.This project IS NOT neighbor friendly for me PERSONALLY.Have a great day!
Michelle Simakis (Editor) November 18, 2011 at 08:24 PM
Thanks for sharing your opinion, Linda, and providing more details about what happened at the meeting. What does everyone else think?
Garry Kanter November 19, 2011 at 06:52 AM
I was there. It was as if the presenters were focused on The Project. The citizens in attendance were interested in The People. The presenters didn't have much to offer beyond, "Here's what's going to happen". It's certainly not a unique occurrence, but it has to be changed. Not just transparency, bit actual teamwork. We The People are prepared to do our share of the heavy lifting, but nobody seems to be asking. That's not good enough any more.
linda jenkins November 19, 2011 at 07:55 AM
Garry,i wonder who else was there feeling as though they showed up for a presentation for a project, but they really thought we were invited to have some input or if nothing else who and how this project was complete and accepted by the Residents of South Taylor Rd. I'm asking the question how to work with City Council, there have been numerous phone calls and letters with no response or in the case of my Husband and Myself an unprofessional and inapproriate response. We've been aware of this project since 2002 but unaware of any changes. This was a great let down for us especially when we chose to purchase our home and retire as seniors on this street. I personally have devoted a lot of my lifetime and team work with the neighbors some have left and we still have contact after 29yrs I was expecting fireworks maybe a sparkle instead I got a smoke signal, let's get started, let the questions begin now, Right now. Have a great day!

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