December 19, 2014

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ODOT presents plan for widening of Center Ridge Road

North Ridgeville residents Richard and Karen Sizer view maps at the ODOT informational meeting on Thursday. The Sizers were curious about how the changes will affect the property they are renting and the local businesses near their home. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

North Ridgeville residents Richard and Karen Sizer view maps at the ODOT informational meeting on Thursday. The Sizers were curious about how the changes will affect the property they are renting and the local businesses near their home. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Garry Minute and Greg Lott were typical of the about 120 people who turned out to look at photos, charts and ask questions about the long-awaited, $55.4 million widening of Center Ridge Road expected to transform the center of town in the next few years.

“I’m trying to find out just how much land they’re going to need,” Minute said for his reason for turning out for Thursday night’s three-hour Ohio Department of Transportation-hosted open house on the project.

ODOT Environmental Coordinator Mac Vance speaks with Jim and Sandy Hales, both of North Ridgeville, about the changes that will affect their business, Hales Florist and Greehouse Inc.

ODOT Environmental Coordinator Mac Vance speaks with Jim and Sandy Hales, both of North Ridgeville, about the changes that will affect their business, Hales Florist and Greehouse Inc.

Owner of Garden Village Nursery, a longtime business begun by his parents in 1947, Minute is concerned the amount of land he’ll have to sell for needed right-of-way will be more than he first thought.

“I’ve got about 700 feet of frontage,” Minute said. “I’m probably one of the top 10 properties (size-wise).”

Lott also figures to lose some 150 feet of frontage at his Irrigation Consultants, a U-Haul business he operates west of Lear-Nagle Road.

“I’ve got more questions than answers right now,” Lott said.

The expected loss of land in front of his business will not only cost Lott parking spaces but will make it tougher for bigger trucks to get in and out onto Center Ridge.

The two men were among dozens who studied about 20 aerial color enlargements of various portions of Center Ridge Road set up on easels flanking both sides of the Community Room of the North Ridgeville Education Center where the meeting was held.

The project will require two feet of right-of-way on the north side of the portion of Center Ridge to be widened and 38 feet on the south side, according to ODOT spokeswoman Christine Myers.

Budgeted at $55.4 million, the project will widen Center Ridge from three to five lanes along a 2.3-mile stretch of the road between Lear-Nagle Road to the east to Stoney Ridge Road to the west.

The project was given top priority by the state based on more than 300 traffic accidents on the road between 2007 and 2009.

Mayor G. David Gillock speaks with ODOT Planning Engineer Leslie Farley and North Ridgeville homeowner Don Sprouse.

Mayor G. David Gillock speaks with ODOT Planning Engineer Leslie Farley and North Ridgeville homeowner Don Sprouse.

Mayor David Gillock reminded the crowd about the 0.86-mill bond issue on the May ballot that, if passed, will permit the city to borrow up to $8 million to pay the city’s required 12 percent share of project costs.

Owners of homes valued at $100,000 would pay $30.10 a year in new taxes for the bond issue.

Gillock said the cost in added taxes is low, considering the road widening will make the biggest impact to the city in years while alleviating much traffic congestion.

“We’re not insensitive to those affected by this,” Gillock said, noting that many people wrongly believe the state and or city can take property without compensating owners.

“That’s just not so,” Gillock said. “There will be negotiations. Relocation costs will be paid for businesses, and we will try to help them find new locations along Center Ridge. We want to make the relocation process as smooth as possible.”

Every property will be appraised at fair market value, Myers said. “We’ll use comparable sales within a reasonable proximity of two to five miles.”

The meeting also drew interest from people living outside the city.

Bob and Cathy Springer, a Westlake couple, said they wanted to come to learn whether a residential property they own in the 6900 block of Root Road will be affected by the roadwork.

“We are on the list of impacted property owners, but our property lies just outside the area shown on the map, so we’re not certain if it’s going to affect us or not,” Bob Springer said.

The project also widens Lear-Nagle Road to three lanes between Center Ridge and Lorain Roads, and is to expand intersections at Lorain and Cook roads.

“We’ll be amazed when they get the Lear-Nagle piece done,” Bill Snyder, a lifelong North Ridgeville resident, said.

“Traffic backs up in the morning and at night going to and coming from I-480 and the Turnpike, especially between Route 10 (Lorain Road) and Chestnut Ridge,” Snyder’s wife, Leah, said.

Noting the need for passing the bond issue, Bill Snyder said “maybe they should hand out fliers to drivers waiting in traffic telling them to vote for it.”

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

CENTER RIDGE PROJECT

  • Construction is expected to take two years from November 2016 to November 2018
  • Phase one will extend from just west of Jaycox Road to near Broad Avenue
  • Phase two will run from west of Stoney Ridge Road to near Jaycox Road
  • A lane of traffic will be maintained both east- and westbound during construction as well as a two-way left turn lane

THE TENTATIVE TIMELINE

  • August: Roadway plans completed
  • November to May 2015: Right-of-way acquisition
  • December 2014 to June 2015: Building demolition
  • June 2015 to November 2016: Utility relocation