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Construction, impatient drivers exacerbate traffic woes at west side intersection

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Posted at 5:36 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 18:58:44-04

PARMA, Ohio — Construction in the area of one of Northeast Ohio’s more notoriously busy intersections has exacerbated driver frustration and traffic delays.

A multi-million dollar road repaving project on Ridge Road in the cities of Cleveland, Parma and Brooklyn kicked off this month, prompting lane closures and long streams of orange construction barrels. The construction has brought further congestion to the intersection of Ridge and Brookpark Road and prompted long delays for drivers, especially those wanting to turn right from Brookpark onto Ridge Road.

Try as he might, delivery driver Leo Longcoy can avoid neither the construction nor the congestion.

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“I work right down the road from here and I have to use this intersection every day to get on and off the highway,” Longcoy said. “People over here on Brookpark Road are being stopped because people are going through the lights and blocking the lights at the intersection.”

In less than an hour, News 5 witnessed at least a half-dozen instances in which eastbound drivers turning left from Brookpark Road and onto Ridge Road were caught in the middle of the intersection because of traffic further up on Ridge Road. The drivers wanting to turn left remain stuck at the intersection as the light turns red and, consequently, blocked drivers wanting to go west on Brookpark Road.

“Every day, seven days a week we go through this intersection and try to make sure everybody gets their deliveries on time,” said driver Michael Lewis. “Once the lights change, that’s when it gets real bad. We may have a delivery down the street so that means we have to go all the way around Parma just to go down the street [if we want to avoid it].”

The more than $4 million road resurfacing project on Ridge Road aims to replace the decades-old driving surface, which had fallen into serious disrepair over the years. However, with an estimated traffic count of more than 50,000 cars daily — pre-pandemic — the road work has already made traffic even more tenuous.

The significant delays began as soon as construction started, said Ben Williams, the warehouse manager at b.a. Sweetie Candy Company.

“We have had a few people toward the end of the night that when we close or get ready to close. Unfortunately, we have had people that were stuck in that kind of traffic and didn’t have enough time to come in and shop with us,” Williams said. “Our volumes are changing as far as the amounts of people coming into the store at any given time. It seems like we’ll get big pockets of people that finally made it in that have been sitting there waiting for 15 minutes to get into the store.”

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The traffic congestion has also severely impacted the store’s deliveries, Williams said.

“They have been having an issue just getting into our lot because traffic will be backed up on Brookpark so far that they can’t get into our facility,” Williams said. “They are also having trouble getting out of our facility.”

City leaders in both Parma and Brooklyn have repeatedly asked drivers to be patient as they navigate around and through the construction. Officials have recommended drivers use the Tiedeman Road exit instead of Ridge.

Construction is expected to last until July 2023.