December 18, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
29°F
test

Wrong-way Route 57 drivers getting tickets in Grafton

Traffic on state Route 57, which is Grafton’s Main Street, is expected to remain one-way with one lane of traffic going through the village until at least November.

Traffic on state Route 57 is expected to remain one-way with one lane of traffic going through the village until at least November. Police have ticketed 18 motorists traveling the wrong way. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

GRAFTON — Police have handed out 18 tickets to motorists traveling the wrong way on the 1.25-mile stretch of state Route 57 in Grafton where traffic is limited to one lane in one direction.

Those ticketed so far have been cited for entering Route 57 from side roads and attempting to drive north, in violation of the southbound-only traffic pattern, Grafton Patrolman Ken Jake said.

Police have been getting numerous complaints from construction crews and drivers who are properly following the southbound-only detour about others trying to go north on the one-lane road, Jake said.

The roadwork, which is adding a third lane and new sewer lines, has been the source of complaints by local businesses worried about the hit they would take from decreased traffic.

Harvest Café, a popular restaurant at the southern end of the work zone just north of railroad tracks near the downtown area, closed a few weeks back, but former owner Houssain Mishkin said the closing came a few months after the change of ownership and was not due to the roadwork.

Bob Klaiber, a deputy engineer in the office of County Engineer Ken Carney, said county officials have stressed to leaders of the Shelly Co., the Twinsburg firm serving as general contractor for the $4.62 million project, that the project has to be completed and the road reopened by a previously set November deadline.

“We’ve kept hammering that home,” Klaiber said. “We’ve been pretty firm about that. We’ve been told they have every intention of meeting the completion date.”

Grafton Council President David DiVencenzo believes the work has been mischaracterized as a road-widening project.

“I think everyone agreed that an extra lane was needed, as was rebuilding the whole road, but this is also about rebuilding aging infrastructure with new water and sewer lines,” DiVencenzo said. “Most importantly we’re going to have new, larger storm sewers for drainage.”

Those new sewers should alleviate problems with flooding and sewer back-up in the village’s north end, DiVencenzo said.

Earlier talk of maintaining two-lane traffic during construction was nixed after it was decided that would have required more right-of-ways to be obtained from businesses and private properties, as well as lengthening the construction timetable, DiVencenzo said.

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