NORTON, Ohio — It's an ongoing controversy involving the washed-out Kungle Road Bridge that has residents in the cities of Norton and New Franklin living with frustration and concerns about neighborhood safety.
The bridge was closed in May of 2019, and then a month later collapsed after a June rainstorm.
More than 20 months later, Kungle Road remains closed to traffic, forcing residents, local police, EMS and fire crews to make a detour of several minutes.
Those living near the collapsed roadway, like Amy Sir Louis who is a mother of four, believe the lingering crater is a real safety hazard.
"It's delaying safety response to our community," Sir Louis said. “I actually watched an ambulance turn the wrong direction out of somebody’s driveway when they picked up a patient, they had to turn around and come back up the road. This barrier is not well marked, there’s nothing flashing, there’s no signal until you get right up on it, we don’t have streetlights on this road. So you have to really be paying attention, or you could easily plow into that, especially with the snow piled in front. We have kids in the neighborhood, kids are curious, they crawl into things, they want to see what there is to be seen. I get concerned when I see a big gaping hole that hasn’t been fixed for almost two years, it just really feels like a bureaucratic failure.”
The Summit County Engineer's Office determined the bridge is located in the city of Norton, but residents and New Franklin Mayor Paul Adamson said Norton Mayor Mike Zita hasn't given them any information on when repairs will be made.
Adamson said the controversy has created many questions, and so far no solutions.
“Here we are almost two years later and this hole is still in the ground, people are still driving two and three miles out of their way, on the way to work and home from work," Adamson said. “Then it became a question, was it Norton’s responsibility? Was it Summit Counties responsibility? And then the question arose as to whether it was a bridge, under Ohio law it has to be a ten-foot span."
“What I want to make clear is we’re not going to stop until we get this fixed.”
News 5 made multiple calls to Norton Mayor Mike Zita, and the Summit County Executive, but so far our calls have not been returned.
The Summit County Engineer's Office said there is some hope, confirming the City of Norton is trying to work with the county to see if a federal grant is available to help fund bridge repairs, which could cost up to $300,000.