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Open house calms some, not all road concerns
Open house calms some, not all road concerns
By SUE REID
About 30 residents along Bainbridge Road in Solon crowded the banquet room at Grantwood Golf Course last week seeking answers to their questions regarding an upcoming road-reconstruction project.
They spoke with representatives from the Cuyahoga County Engineer's Office in an open-house format for the first time since they expressed concerns about the project to the city for nearly nine months. The two-year reconstruction project is slated to begin next spring. County representatives said it has been on the drawing board since 1993.
Jamal Husani, chief transportation engineer with the county, said the goal of the open house was for the residents to engage the designers of the project directly with their questions. He said such preconstruction meetings normally are held once a contractor is on board. But, he said, because the city and the residents were so anxious for the meeting, it was held before the project went out to bid.
Tables at the open house were set up with various county representatives, covering such areas as construction and traffic, utilities and right-of-way acquisition. In addition, there were maps set up for residents to view both the final pavement markings as well as the two sections of construction. Section one is from SOM Center Road (Route 91) to Liberty Road and the second section is from Liberty Road to the east corporation line.
Jean Miadich, who lives on the southeast corner of Bainbridge and Liberty roads, said she came to the open house in the hopes of developing a better understanding of the project. She also wanted to present her concerns to the county and its engineers, she said.
Ms. Miadich, who said she will lose approximately 135 square feet of her driveway, wanted to see if there was a possibility of reconfiguring things so that she can have some maneuverability.
June Chizmar, who lives on Jaclyn Drive off of Sharondale Drive, said she came to the open house to determine how the Bainbridge Road project will affect her commute to and from work. She said she travels Bainbridge Road to get to the Route 422 freeway. "It's bad now," Ms. Chizmar said of the traffic, "but with this construction, it may be worse.
"I'm not looking forward to that," she said.
Donald Zimmerman, who lives on Windy Willow Drive in the Creekside subdivision off of Bainbridge Road, said he attended the open house "to find out what's going on and how much they will destroy Bainbridge Road.
"I want to understand the quality of what's being replaced and what they are and are not obligated to do," he said.
"I think the compensation offers were totally insulting," Bainbridge Road resident Robin Johnston said. She will lose 30 trees as a result of the project, she said, and that is one of her main concerns.
Bainbridge Road resident Thomas Fuchik said he attended the meeting to seek answers regarding sanitary sewers in the eastern section of the road where he lives. While he was satisfied with the answers he was given, he said, one question remained unanswered. "Who said we needed a two-way temporary road?" he asked.
Mr. Husani said the designer of the project proposes the maintenance-of-traffic scheme, "but it's not done in a vacuum." Typically, he said, once a project is designed, it is then reviewed by the county and, in this case, the City of Solon. If there are no objections in the initial stage of the plan, then the design moves forward, he said.
In 2005, temporary pavement was shown on the north side of the road then moved to the south side due to utility conflicts. "Both sides of the road would have utility impact. However, the designer felt it would be less impact to the utilities if it was on the south side," Mr. Husani said.
"In 2005, we showed that traffic would be maintained two ways with the use of temporary pavement. The two-way temporary road was designed from the beginning, and the city and county had the ability to give input from as far back as 2003."
Residents along the road have appealed to the city for the past several months to maintain the traffic on the road one way as it is done in other city projects.
"In 2005, if we had heard this much opposition, we would have looked at it again," Mr. Husani said of the maintenance of traffic design. He said that even in January 2009, when opposition to the temporary road was voiced by residents, the city had a say, and upon consulting with its safety forces and engineering and public works departments, voted to stay with the existing maintenance of traffic scheme.
"Basically, they reinforced the design," Mr. Husani said.
Resident Stanley Gordon asked Mr. Husani if there were other projects in the city reviewed that could have been chosen for the stimulus funding.
Mr. Husani said there were not.
Mr. Gordon said that expanding the four lanes on Solon Road between Aurora (Route 43) and Cochran and Harper roads in the city's industrial district would have had numerous benefits overall to the city. "What does this Bainbridge Road project benefit overall?" he asked.
Mr. Husani said the county cannot go in and do any project without legislation passed by the city. "I can't do Solon Road if the city doesn't allow it." He said he would have rather done other projects in the county that have "more volume," but they weren't "shovel ready." as the Bainbridge Road project was.
Mr. Gordon said he was not attacking the Bainbridge Road project but just inquiring if there were any other choices that had been reviewed for the stimulus funding.
Bainbridge Road resident John McNamara said following the meeting that he did not learn a whole lot more through the open house than he already knew.
Bainbridge Road resident John Nolan said following the meeting that, to the extent that he and some other residents have researched this project, an open-house format would not provide him with the answers he needed. "The main issue is the destruction of property and they are not going to fix that or answer that in that forum," he said.
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