Downtown Cleveland construction challenges drivers, delays RTA buses

Orange barrels on major downtown arteries

CLEVELAND - Northeast Ohioans understand there are two seasons, winter and construction.

Drivers traveling through downtown Cleveland saw orange barrels everywhere Wednesday on major arteries including West 6th Street, West 9th Street, East 9th Street and Ontario.

Vehicles had to weave through orange barrel-like mazes. Pedestrians walking down sidewalks dealt with the sound of jackhammers bouncing of nearby buildings.

With street parking temporarily unavailable, many downtown visitors, including Carmel Cansler of Cleveland Heights, had to park and walk blocks to their destination.

"I don't understand why all this is going on, in almost every street in downtown Cleveland," said Cansler. "Makes me not even want to come down here."

With Cleveland's Shoreway set to close from May 29 through June 14 for the filming of "Captain America" and the Innerbelt Bridge project well under way, getting to downtown attractions will require detours and extra time.

"The city's working and the county's working greatly with us hand in hand to listen to our feedback," said Cleveland Horseshoe Casino vice president and general manager Marcus Glover. "We're able to call audibles from time to time to make it more accessible for the guests that want to come downtown."

Dozens of RTA buses were re-routed due to downtown construction causing unavoidable delays.

"We do our best to try to make it smooth for our customers," said RTA spokesperson Mary Shaffer. "We know that there are going to be delays so if you can plan a little extra time."

Shaffer strongly recommended the public log onto  http://www.riderta.com for updates on construction rerouting.

For this weekend's Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and other future downtown events, RTA officials also recommended eastside residents utilize the Blue and Green rail lines instead of trying to drive and park on streets under construction.

According to RTA officials, construction on the RTA Red rail line, between West 98th Street and West 117th Street, is scheduled to be completed in June.

Tom Nemcek of Cleveland was at the Progressive Field ticket window Wednesday buying tickets for an Indians game later this summer. For good reason, Tom is not worried about finding alternate routes to avoid orange barrels.

"Years ago, back in the 70s, I was a cab driver, so I know this city back and front," said Nemcek.

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