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Jersey barrier replacement at Public Square to cost $3 million; RTA asked to contribute $500,000

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Posted at 12:03 PM, Mar 30, 2022

CLEVELAND — The project to remove the “temporary” concrete jersey barriers that have been a longtime eyesore in the middle of Public Square will cost $3 million.

In a meeting held Tuesday, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority board of trustees and the Group Plan Commission, the nonprofit that manages Public Square, said they will ask RTA for $500,000 to contribute to the project.

If the city council passes the legislation, the city would contribute $1.5 million to the project.

"The city’s contribution of $1.5 [million] and the RTA’s hopeful contribution of $500,000 would get us to the $2 million,” said Sanaa Julien, CEO of the Group Plan Commission. “And we are actively fundraising with proposals in market for the balance of $1.5 million. We know that we are going to come in under that number, but we are hopeful that we can bring in the entire amount with whatever balance going into our operations and maintenance budget for the bollards and other maintenance uses in the square."

Any additional funds raised would then be used for maintenance or other issues in the future as needed.

Mike Schipper, deputy general manager of engineering for RTA, said the temporary jersey concrete barriers and planters were placed in the square in 2017 after the reconstruction of the square to mitigate safety and security concerns, but now have overstayed their welcome.

“Since that time, RTA has been working behind the scenes with the Group Plan Commission and others to come up with permanent solutions that would address the safety and security concerns. And that what we are presenting today [Tuesday] to move away for five years of temporary to something that is permanent and will benefit our operations," he said.

Schipper said the jersey barriers cause disruptions to RTA service every time they are moved for a special event. Some of the funds will be allocated to repair the wear and tear of Superior Avenue caused by the heavy traffic of RTA buses.

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RTA buses at Public Square.

The Group Plan Commission said it’s important for the proposed bollards to have some sort of continuity with the rest of the design at the square.

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Proposed bollards for Public Square.

Since the Group Plan Commission held the original contract for the design, construction and reconstruction of Public Square in 2015, it will stay involved and authorize the redesign upon approval from city council.

The commission is responsible for delivering the project and consists of the original architects, engineers, project managers and contractors who have prior knowledge and understanding of the complexities of constructing permanent barriers. The removal of the barriers will take expert precision so as to not damage the utilities below the surface.

RELATED: Mayor Bibb proposes legislation to (finally) remove jersey barriers in Cleveland's Public Square

Editor's note: A previous version of this story contained incorrect information. The story has been updated with the correct information.

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