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

Posted at 8:00 AM, Oct 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 18:37:58-04

CLEVELAND — The Ohio Department of Transportation is holding a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the Opportunity Corridor next week.

It's scheduled for Nov. 3 at 2 p.m.

The timing delivers on the amended timeline ODOT provided roughly a year ago, when the original May 2021 completion date slid back to November 2021 because of changes to the initial plan around East 55th Street.

Crews are finishing up work on the Opportunity Corridor ramp at East 55th Street so vehicles can start to use the new passageway in November.

The 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.

See Birdseye shots of the project here.

When will it open?

An ODOT spokesperson told News 5 they do not plan on opening the roadway immediately after the ribbon-cutting. A formal date and time is expected to be announced during Wednesday's event.

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

What will it do?

The purpose of the Opportunity Corridor Project is to improve transportation and economic development in the historically under-served part of Cleveland known as the “Forgotten Triangle” located within the City of Cleveland, between I-490/I-77 and University Circle.

This May 2019 picture shows the intersection of the Opportunity Corridor and East 93rd Street before it was connected to work being done around East 55th Street.

The hope is that the new connector boulevard will help move vehicles to the East Side faster than avenues like Chester and Euclid, while also providing new locations for new development. Sidewalks and multi-purpose trails run the length of the new three-mile corridor, giving cyclists a safe option to travel roughly 50 blocks east and west.

A new Cleveland police headquarters is already planned for the Opportunity Corridor near East 75th Street. JMT Architecture’s website says the project will cost about $108 million, will be 170,000 square feet, and will be finished in 2023.

This picture shows the same intersection in October 2021 a year and a half after the picture above.

Innovation Square also promises to help revitalize the northern section of the project along East 105th Street in the Fairfax neighborhood.

Read ODOT’s August 2013 Draft Environment Impact Statement laying out the potential benefits here.

How did we get here?

In July 2015, then-Governor John Kasich announced the project would be paid with bonds funded against future turnpike revenue.

The first section of the Opportunity Corridor, which reconstructed East 105th Street from Quebec Avenue to North of Chester Avenue was completed in Fall 2017.

The second phase build a new road from East 93rd Street to Quebec Avenue and was completed in Fall 2018.

To learn more about the project, click here.

What do neighbors think?

The sound of construction crews echoes from every side of Robert Littlejohn's childhood home on Kinsman Road.

"It's not aggravating cause I know they’re doing a good thing," he smiled. "It’s going to be beautiful when they finish it. It’s going to be real nice."

Littlejohn says his family turned down ODOT's initial offer of $5,000 when the project first began. After seeing some of the surrounding development going up, he told News 5 he's looking forward to selling his corner lot for what's next.

Screen Shot 2021-11-01 at 3.37.07 PM.png
A view of the construction outside Robert Littlejohn's Kinsman Road home.

"The goal is to sell it and get out of the way," he said. "They want nice things, they got to do what they got to do. The property value is going to go up, and it’s going to go up a lot."

Nichole Martovitz would also love to sell her Bower Avenue home after enduring years of construction.

“It’s been a pretty horrible experience,” she said. “I can't tell you how many tires I've lost because of all the nails. They’re putting all this money in the roadway but they've done nothing to maintain anything around it. Great, we have a pretty road, but nothing else.”

Back in August, News 5 highlighted Martovitz’s home after a tree next to ODOT’s roadwork was uprooted and began leaning on her home.

Shortly after investigating the issue, ODOT offered to remove the tree and repair the home.

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