AVON — It would be cheaper to temporarily reopen Avon Road to traffic during construction of the Lear Nagel Road/Interstate 90 interchange than to keep it closed.
At least that’s the view of Mayor Jim Smith, who is studying whether to reopen the road, which was closed to traffic in 2009 over unsafe conditions.
While construction of the interchange is a major impetus for getting the road opened again to traffic, another is ensure developments such as the 200-plus home Willow Creek subdivision are not cut off from emergency services.
“We want to make sure there is adequate access for fire trucks and ambulances,” Smith said. “We need to be sure we take care of those folks in there.”
Smith acknowledged there is another way for fire and police vehicles to get into the area by way of a gate at the end of an unpaved service drive near the Good Samaritan Nursing Home.
“If we can get it open for a temporary period of time, it would only cost us about $50,000 to put down a layer of blacktop to make it drivable,” Smith said.
Despite the cost of paving, Avon would save thousands of dollars that would otherwise have to be spent for traffic control costs to allow one-lane traffic in the vicinity of the interchange construction, which is expected to last up to two years.
“The $50,000 we should be able to save at a bare minimum would offset the cost of traffic control and other things,” Smith said.
Smith said Westlake officials appear to be in favor of the reopening the road, but would have no financial stake in the move. Avon would actually pave a half-mile portion of Avon Road that lies inside Westlake.
“Our side is fine,” Smith said. “We would not be reimbursed by Westlake on this. The road is basically non-existent to them. Nobody goes down it.”
Avon Road runs between Bradley Road in Westlake and Lear Nagel Road in Avon. The deteriorating portion of the road in Westlake was closed by Mayor Dennis Clough in 2009 after the mayor claimed it was unsafe. While the closing didn’t affect Westlake drivers to any extent, it did rub Avon residents the wrong way as many used the road to get to I-90 and Crocker Park and other Westlake businesses.
Avon Council is expected to discuss and vote on the matter next week, Smith said. “If everyone is supportive, we’ll go ahead. If they’re not, we won’t. There’s no sense in doing all the logistics of this if it isn’t supported.”
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.