Cleveland residents can weigh in on proposals to replace Willow Avenue Bridge that crosses Cuyahoga River

Posted at 9:17 AM, Nov 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 17:13:33-05

CLEVELAND — Cleveland residents will get their first public look at a few different proposals to replace the Willow Avenue Bridge, crossing the Cuyahoga River near Lakeview Terrace in Ohio City.

The loud noises and huge cargo that large trucks have been rumbling by the Lakeview Terrace for at least the 20 years that Diane Howard as lived nearby.

A few years ago, she successfully lobbied to keep the trucks from driving through the middle of her community but now she's trying to convince the city to build a route that keeps them even farther away from the young children and seniors who live in one of the nation's first public housing projects: Lakeview Terrace.

"It's not safe when you're going to have all these trucks going through," said Howard.

The trucks go to stone, salt, and ore companies on the otherside of the Cuyahoga River. The Willow Avenue Bridge is the only way to get there and right now, Cleveland City Councilman Kerry McCormack tells News 5 the bridge is in dire need of repair.

The city is considering a handful of options:

  • Replace the bridge where it stands
  • Build a new bridge right next to the existing bridge
  • Build a new bridge slightly downriver from the existing bridge
  • Build a new bridge farther downriver, crossing the river on the other side of Lakeview Terrace
  • Build a new bridge that connects directly to the Shoreway near West 45th Street

Howard says she's fighting for the last option, that would take the truck traffic in the opposite direction from Lakeview Terrace.

That plan also sounds good at McCarthy's Ale House, where Cory Kaschel says the trucks outside drown out what happens inside.

"It's noise pollution," said Kaschel. "So it kind of distracts the conversations between myself and also the customers."

Residents can learn more about the plans at public meeting Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Community Church on 4427 Franklin Boulevard.

McCormack says that meeting is a chance to show the residents at Lakeview Terrace that they aren't forgotten just because they live in low-income housing.

"This organizing, is it about coming up with better results? Absolutely," said McCormack. "But when [the residents] organize, when they speak their mind, when they lobby their government, which is their constitutional right, they can make a difference."

The plan could also impact the Cleveland Metroparks' Whiskey Island Connector Bridge project.

"Cleveland Metroparks appreciates the analysis that AECOM has demonstrated thusfar on this project to evaluate the replacement or rehabilitation of a critical piece of infrastructure serving the Cleveland community. Metroparks appreciates the thorough study of options that balances the needs of the entire community. Much progress has been made to execute on the plan of providing access to our greatest natural asset, Lake Erie. We expect that the alternatives to be evaluated regarding the Willow Ave. lift bridge will hold access to the city’s lakefront a paramount need of the community."
Cleveland Metroparks