August 28, 2014

Elyria
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Lagging Lake Street overpass project could disrupt Amherst school traffic

AMHERST — The city is working on a back-up plan if Norfolk Southern Railroad’s construction project isn’t finished by the start of the school year, but Mayor David Taylor said he hopes the project will be completed by Aug. 20.

Norfolk Southern closed a portion of North Lake Street in both directions and routed traffic around the area while repairs are made to the overpass. The city is not involved in the construction because the railroad company owns the overpass.

Construction was set to be finished Wednesday, but Norfolk Southern pushed the date back to Aug. 14 after difficulty obtaining materials for construction, according to the city’s website.

Taylor said he was alarmed when Dave Pidgeon, spokesman for Norfolk Southern Railroad, said he hoped construction would be finished by the end of August.

Taylor said he met with the contractor Tuesday to reiterate the importance of having the project complete before school starts. The portion of North Lake Street is a main thoroughfare for the city’s schools, he said.

“If we don’t have it open, we’re going to have some traffic problems,” he said.

In an email to Taylor from Abbas Pourbohloul, an engineer for Norfolk Southern Railroad, Pourbohloul said crews are working to have the project completed by the deadline. He wrote to Taylor that “more extensive” repairs were needed than initially expected.

“The main cause of delay in completing the subject project on time is the change in the original scope of work. As we progressed through the span replacement work, it became apparent that the extent of joint deterioration in masonry substructure was too severe to allow for the application of the originally stipulated repair scheme,” he wrote.

Pourbohloul told Taylor that the contractor was instructed to work overtime on Saturdays and Sundays to complete the project by Aug. 20.

Taylor said, in the chance that North Lake Street isn’t opened by that date, he is meeting with police and the school district to put together a traffic plan.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.