CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio State Troopers are working together to find good locations to build highway crossover lanes throughout Cuyahoga County.
The goal is to make it safer for emergency crews and officers to respond to emergency situations.
Ohio State Trooper Kenneth Velez and Cleveland Police Officer David Fahey were struck and killed in the line of duty, while working on I-90 West near the Warren Road Overpass. Velez was killed back in September of 2016, and Fahey was killed in January of this year.
“Trooper Velez was known as a storyteller and a fun loving guy. Anyone who interacted with him typically got a story, and he was full of laughter,” said Lt. Rob Gable with Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The deaths of Velez and Fahey triggered a call to create a safer environment for emergency responders. Transportation officials and troopers have worked together to add the crossover lanes.
“It definitely is going to make it faster for the emergency services to be able to respond to any incidents, instead of having to go to the next interchange and turn around,” said Amanda McFarland, Ohio Department of Transportation spokesperson.
The first crossover lane over being put in place is close to where Officer Fahey and Trooper Velez were both struck and killed. Since 2012, Ohio State Patrol reports more than 300 crashes have taken place within just a two-mile stretch of that area on I-90 westbound near the Warren Road Overpass.
“We always want the officers to be remembered. Trooper Velez and Officer Fahey,” said Lt. Gable. “They both worked every day to make the world a better place for everybody else.”
The cost for constructing the crossover lane almost $100,000, but Lt. Gable said the cost is well worth it.
“There's no value on human life, so allowing emergency services to get to an accident faster is important,” he said.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio State Highway Patrol said they do not have a set number on how many crossover lanes will be added. Several meetings are scheduled to discuss where the additional ones will be built in Cuyahoga County.