CLEVELAND - The ramp from the West Shoreway eastbound to Edgewater Park closed Tuesday and will remain closed until November.
The popular pedestrian/bike path and tunnel between the park and West 65th Street will close for the same time period as well.
With boating season in full swing and people re-discovering a rejuvenated Edgewater Park, crowds will be scrambling to find an alternate way to the lower area of the park.
“The timing couldn’t be worse,” said Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone. “But I like to say these short-term inconveniences are going to pay long-term dividends.”
Zone pointed to the Battery Park housing and retail development as one project which happened because of the lakefront connector project.
“It's been a long time coming,” said Zone. “A lot of economic development that has occurred has been predicated upon this lakefront plan happening and as a result of that you're seeing the private sector invest heavily in this community.”
The former Eveready Battery complex, north of Detroit Avenue, near the railroad tracks on the city’s west side, sat vacant for years until developers saw promise in the plan to connect the neighborhood to Edgewater Park.
Closure of the ramp forces eastbound traffic to access the park via a posted detour. Motorists heading to the park will now travel one more exit east of the park to exit at West 45th Street. Right turns onto Detroit Avenue and to West 49th Street, lead to the westbound Shoreway entrance ramp and the exit at the westbound ramp to the park.
The closure was done do avoid a possible 13-month delay in construction on the West 73rd Street tunnel. By closing the ramp, construction can take place simultaneously on both sides of the railroad tracks. The tracks act as a barrier between the lakefront and the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.
Zone held a Ward 15 community meeting on the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) project Tuesday evening.
ODOT's Lakefront West Project will transform the 2.5 mile, six-lane freeway to a six-lane, tree-lined boulevard. The “de-spining” of the freeway, the removal of the concrete median and lowering of the speed limit from 50 mph to 35 mph, is expected to be completed in early 2016.
Zone said the West Shoreway will be renamed Edgewater Parkway.
The city of Cleveland, ODOT and Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) came together to provide the nearly $60 million of funding needed to do the project.