November 26, 2014

Elyria
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Vermilion Road repair project upsets residents, businesses

When crews close a section of Vermilion Road in June to repair it, several nearby businesses could suffer, their owners said Wednesday. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

When crews close a section of Vermilion Road in June to repair it, several nearby businesses could suffer, their owners said Wednesday. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

BROWNHELM TWP. — Business owners are concerned that a planned road closure on Vermilion Road to repair erosion that threatens to collapse the road will hurt their bottom lines.

The repair work, which includes using massive pylons to stabilize the ground and shifting about 1,200 feet of roadway, is slated to begin June 9, which comes at the beginning of the busy summer season for Kreig’s Market and Ice Cream, the Aufdenkamp Family Farm and Mill Hollow Nursery, all of which are nearby.

The area slated for closure is on the curve of a narrow stretch of land near the Vermilion River Reservation where North Ridge Road briefly joins with Vermilion Road. The project has a price tag of nearly $702,000.

Richard Aufdenkamp, who owns his family’s farm, said closing the road won’t be good for business because many of those heading to his market, which is further east on North Ridge Road, come from people driving from the west. Often, he told the Lorain County commissioners Wednesday, those people simply stop by the farm as they drive past.

ED BETZEL/CHRONICLE ILLUSTRATION

ED BETZEL/CHRONICLE ILLUSTRATION

He said the June 9 date is about when strawberry season, which accounts for about 25 percent of his business, begins. Closing the road will mean fewer customers, he said.

“Rural farm markets are not usually seen as destinations, but rather places to stop along the way,” Brownhelm Township Trustee Orrin Leimbach said.

Commissioner Lori Kokoski said she understood the concern.

“Your impulse when you see a road closed sign is to turn around,” she said.

Deputy County Engineer Bob Klaiber said he too understands where business owners are coming from, but the road could collapse if steps aren’t taken to address the erosion. Not dealing with it could mean even worse problems later on, he said.

“It’s not just relocating the road. We have to build a pretty massive retaining wall,” Klaiber said.

Klaiber also said the work has to be done in the warmer months of the year with an eye toward not impacting school bus routes. That means a summer timeline, which coincides with when farmers do most of their business.

“Their busy season is our busy season,” Klaiber said.

Aufdenkamp and other business owners said they’re aware that work needs to be done, but want the county to do whatever it takes to keep the road open as long as possible.

Leimbach said he was concerned the detour would send drivers up to state Route 2 and most people wouldn’t take the time to backtrack to get to the affected businesses.

Klaiber said the detour won’t include Route 2 and will instead rely on nearby roads to bypass the work. He also said that he would work with the businesses to put up signs that indicate their businesses are still open.

Klaiber also said that he still needs to determine what the contractor’s actual work schedule will be and how long the road would have to remain closed.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.


  • Tom

    So make a huff and don’t let them fix the road and it will eventually erode away. Then they’ll probably make a huff that nothing was done to avoid it…

  • Sis Delish

    Should be some way of providing a temporary lane of traffic during the repair process, doncha think?

    Other solution:
    Small Temporary Veggie/Fruit Stands set up Before the Closure points on either side. Ask the Neighbors for an Seasonal Easement.

    Both Farms have excellent produce and worth the drive.

    • stop ur whining part deux

      I agree. You can complain all you want but it is not going to do anything, the road clearly needs to be repaired and not doing so will ensure a larger mess in the future.

      It is called problem solving. Shame more people do not think like that. Where there is a will, there is a way.

    • Godfather

      Typical response. But if it was your business you would be crying the blues. You make me sick.

      • Michael

        really? Sick/? Seems you don’t get out enough.
        Your response is absurd. The road is falling in. It is unsafe. It needs repaired. But you back some businesses who are whining?? Genius is not in your genes.

        • Godfather

          But at least common sense is.

          Thanks!

  • Really?

    Perhaps a temporary lane could go through the corn field. I’m sure a deal could be worked out with the owner or farmer …who would also benefit from the road repair.

  • oldruss

    This road closure will impact two roads: Vermilion Road running north to south, and North Ridge Road running west to east (through Mill Hollow/Bacon Woods). This effectively cuts off both Aufdenkamp’s and Krieg’s, as well as Miller’s Orchards, farther south on Vermilion Road, from both downtown Vermilion and from points west of Mill Hollow. The bridge across the Vermilion River at Mill Hollow/Bacon Woods (North Ridge Road) is the only crossing between downtown Vermilion (Rte. 6) and Rte. 113 south of the Tpk. Surely, ODOT, or the County, or whomever is doing this road repair could work out a temporary road, even a single lane, that will allow for traffic to access the intersection of Vermilion Road and North Ridge Road.

  • Michael

    let’s see.. deal with the loss of traffic during the planned and funded repair… or wait a bit longer til it gives and maybe kills a car load, then deal with the wait for the planning and funding and then the time the work is accomplished, which will be longer since more gave.
    Decisions decisions – make one. But don’t base it on “now or not at all”. It has to be done.

  • Sharon Sue Butcher Stempowski

    If one is southbound on Verm. Rd., turn left onto Cooper Foster. Take Cooper Foster to Sunnyside, turn right on Sunnyside and take that to North Ridge. Take another right and you are going to end up at either veggie market or Kriegs for some great soft serve or sundaes. Continue on west and you can then turn left and continue south on Vermilion Rd. What’s the problem. Quite frankly, I wish they would deal with installing the Highbridge Road bridge…also for safety puposes!