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Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland to open at end of week

Project helped nearly 1,000 residents with jobs
Posted at 10:25 PM, Nov 07, 2021

CLEVELAND — New numbers from Ohio Means Jobs show nearly 1,000 residents of Cleveland’s Ward 4, 5, and 6 received job placements as a result of the Opportunity Corridor project.

Data from Ohio Means Jobs shows more than 1,500 residents registered from 2014-2018 for assistance through a variety of awareness and outreach programs.

When the project was first announced, it came with a promise to help employ residents directly impacted by the project.

“This is not just about 'Opportunity Corridor' connecting all this,” then-governor John Kasich said during a July 2013 news conference. “It’s about opportunity period. Opportunity to have jobs and opportunity for people to have hope.”

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Data provided by Ohio Means Jobs details the impact of the initiative with the help of a $500,000 investment from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

At Wednesday’s ribbon cutting, workers who live in the area took part in the celebration.

“They gave me an opportunity and I ran with it,” construction worker Marshay Gibbons said. “It's truly a blessing to see I had a part in changing Cleveland.”

For Gibbons, the name “Opportunity Corridor” carries a little more meaning. She worked on phase one and phase three of the project as a construction worker after attending one of the local outreach events without any experience in construction.

2020 Bird's eye view of work to lower I-490/Opportunity Corridor Blvd. under the new E. 55th Street bridge.

“They called me a week later, it's history,” she smiled. “I learned it all firsthand out in the field. The opportunity is there and what I took from this being called the Opportunity Corridor is for people who are in their city to come and do some work and make the city look like this.”

In addition to job placement, those who registered also had a chance to receive free technical career training and support services.

The Opportunity Corridor is visible from sections of the neighborhoods it passes through.

Wednesday’s ceremony marks the end of roughly five years of construction between East 55th Street and East 105th Street. The total cost is more than $200 million for the whole project. More than $150 million of the cost came in the third and final stretch from East 55th to Quincy Avenue.

While a ribbon cutting occurred, the road still has not officially opened. ODOT’s director told News 5 the road should open by the end of this week.

“We are connecting people to opportunity,” ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks said. “And we’re excited by the fact that this is not the end, but the beginning of more opportunities for people who want transportation as a career.”

RELATED: Opportunity Corridor to open soon, connects I-490 to East 105th Street