November 27, 2014


Elyria officials consider lowering speed at Ford Road hairpin turn

Elyria officials may reduce the 25 mph advisory speed limit at the sharp curve on Ford Road by the renovated bridge. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Elyria officials may reduce the 25 mph advisory speed limit at the sharp curve on Ford Road by the renovated bridge. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — The speed limit near the hairpin turn at the top of the hill on Ford Road might get lowered.

Signs call for a speed of 25 mph. City officials could lower it to 15 mph because of safety concerns.

“We are definitely looking at it based on what is going on out there,” City Engineer Tim Ujvari said. “It’s not a legal speed limit, but more of advisory signage for the area. We can change it.”

The renovated bridge and road reopened to traffic late last year. It didn’t take long before the guardrail along the turn to get damaged. There’s a wide cut in it.

Ujvari said he found the damage while driving on the new bridge after residents called to say the speed limit was too high to safely navigate the turn. He wanted to check it out for himself.

“Traffic studies will always tell you that people drive five to 10 miles higher than whatever is the posted speed limit,” he said. “In this case, 25 mph is appropriate, but based on what we know about driving patterns, I am looking at reducing that to 15 mph.”

The new Ford Road bridge opened Nov. 15, years after the one-lane bridge that it replaced was closed to traffic due to safety concerns. The new bridge is two lanes and sits higher over the Black River than its predecessor.

Drivers who traveled the old bridge will remember the tight turn. Not much has changed.

“When they replaced the Ford Road bridge, we were surprised to see that they didn’t straighten the curve at the top of the hill south of the bridge,” said Gwynneth Beil, who has lived on Ford Road for several years. “The blind curve is very sharp … and narrow. But the really bad part is the warning signs approaching the curve from the top of the hill. They say 25 mph for a 90-degree curve. But it’s much sharper than 90 degrees.”

To help drivers safely navigate the area, Ujvari said additional signage likely will be placed at the location as well the reduced speed limit.

He does not need the approval of the Ohio Department of Transportation to change the speed limit on the low-volume road. He hopes to have it done by the spring.

Police Capt. Chris Costantino said he and police Chief Duane Whitely both recently test-drove the road and believe a change is appropriate. He did not have information available Thursday on when and how the guardrail was damaged.

In the meantime, Ujvari said drivers should be careful.

“Drive for the conditions,” he said. “You have to drive for the road conditions and adhere to the posted advisory signage.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • Alan Pugh

    It’s a small change but it’s a worthy change. I’m not usually one for lowering speed limits (traffic studies bear out that it makes little change to safety in most cases), but this isn’t a limit by any means… it’s a warning, and 15 seems like a good suggestion for an unfamiliar driver.

  • Phil Blank

    Show us a photo of the damaged guardrail to back-up your statement!
    Changing the seed limit or suggested speed, will not stop people who want to speed through there.

    • Alan Pugh

      It’s not a distant trek into foreign territory. It’s on the mall side of the new bridge, about halfway through the hairpin. It’s extremely easy to spot. If you think the article is a big conspiracy against reckless drivers, go take a picture and let us know what you see.

      • stillsleepyeyes

        yep, its there phil…………..looks like someone never turned and went straight through………….except for that big tree that stopped them and their bumper is still there. (hey mr. tow truck driver, i’m sure you charged for a cleanup. )

    • Ford Rd resident

      you can’t speed through there without hitting the guardrail. This vehicle went right through and hit some trees.

  • DukeGanote

    Mr. Ujvari needs to back up his assertion that “people drive five to 10 miles higher than whatever is the posted speed limit”. Not unless you deliberately set the speed limit 10 mph too low!

    1. the 75 mph limit on South Dakota rural freeways, where the average speed is LESS than the speed limit.
    2. “a recent county traffic survey of 100 vehicles showed an average speed of 51 mph, which is under the current speed limit.”

    • Alan Pugh

      Those are unrelated assertions because both of them are concerned with Speed Limits (legal postings of maximum speed) and not warnings of hazards, which are merely suggestions related to the obstacles ahead.

  • stargazer2012

    Ford Rd. is nothing but a speedway. This is one of the major reason that the people who live on Ford Rd. never wanted to see the bridge re-opened. You take your life in your hands just walking across the street to pick up your mail or newspaper. People do not pay attention to anything while driving on that road let alone a speed sign! If the City wants this to be an effective deterrent, then add multiple speedbumps, otherwise it’s a waste of time and money.

    • Alan Pugh

      I’d rather not have my shocks and struts damaged due to the negligence of others. Punish the dangerous drivers, not the ones obeying the posted speeds.

      • stillsleepyeyes

        sounds like camera time…………………

  • nighthawk808

    Thank God there are signs to do your thinking for you. It would be horrible if you had to use your own brain and judgment to figure out that you shouldn’t go 90 around a sharp corner.

    • Alan Pugh

      Yeah, you’re totally right. I mean, ever since humans developed X-Ray vision where they can see blind curves, why should we have warning signs helping people navigate? Just look through the houses, trees, and other obstacles with your superpowers and you’ll be fine.

      • nighthawk808

        If it’s sharp enough that you can’t see around the corner, don’t go fast. There’s a simple solution with no X-rays required. If you need a sign to tell you that, you don’t have enough common sense to be on the road in the first place.