CLEVELAND — A June 16 truck accident at Cleveland's Dead Man's curve marked the ninth serious accident at the curve so far in 2021.
While the Ohio Highway Patrol reports crashes at the curve have been declining in recent years, some are wondering what the future holds for the curve, built back in 1959.
The Ohio Department of Transportation issued an update on its Innerbelt Modernization Plan, which includes dramatically relaxing the curve.
ODOT said it still has not identified the funding for the $600 million project, which it said will likely take more than 10 years to complete. ODOT District 12 Spokeperson Amanda McFarland said while the plan is still in its preliminary stages, ODOT is already starting the ground work to obtain the needed property, including helping to move the horse stables at the Cleveland Police Mounted Unit.
“We have started the process. I know we have been working with the mounted police unit, and as some businesses have approached us about moving sooner, or they’re wanting to sell," McFarland said. “The design curve for the project would be 60 mph, when I asked the engineer what the posted speed limit would be, he said the posted speed limit would be 55."
Ward 7 Cleveland Councilman Basheer Jones said he understands the ongoing safety issue caused by the curve in his ward. Jones said eliminating the curve should be a crucial part of any comprehensive downtown redevelopment plan.
“No matter how much it costs, it’s not worth a human life, and too many lives have been lost," Jones said. “It’s still a very dangerous part of our highway, I think this has to be a part of the conversation. If we’re going to develop the lakefront, you can’t really do that without taking a look at how we can reconfigure our highway. It's really important, we want to bring more people into our city.”
Meanwhile, McFarland said it's up to drivers to make the difference in improving safety as we wait several years to get the plan started.
“Make sure you’re putting down your phone, put down any distractions you might be having while you’re driving, and make sure you’re focusing on the task at hand," McFarland said. “That curve is serious, it is a very sharp curve, and if you don’t take it at the proper speed and do it safely, this is the kind of stuff that is going to continue to happen.”