CLEVELAND-- The city of Cleveland began resurfacing streets near Quicken Loans Arena ahead of July's Republican National Convention on Tuesday, leaving roads torn apart as the Cavs and Monsters enter championship play at home next week.
The work includes resurfacing portions of Huron Road, East 4th Street, Bolivar Road, East 7th Street, East 8th Place and East 9th Place in the Gateway District.
Contractors will work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., with two lanes of travel maintained on Huron and southbound traffic maintained on East 4th. The other roads will experience some road closures, according to the city. No on-street parking will be permitted on the roads involved.
The work is happening next to patios of downtown bars and restaurants, just as they enter their busiest time of year.
"It's a little bit interesting in timing with the Finals and everything coming up, but I understand for the greater picture with the RNC coming up, we're going to be on the world stage," said Flannery's Pub Bar manager Trent Musal.
He said repaving of Prospect Avenue affected business late last summer, particularly on the bar's patio due to the noise and smells. He said he hopes to avoid a repeat this year and expects Cavs fans will still come downtown, despite possible complications or delays due to the resurfacing project.
"I hope it doesn't have too much of an effect on business here," Musal said. "I think people are just excited to be in the Finals."
Some questioned why the city of Cleveland chose to begin in conjunction with Monsters and Cavs Finals games.
"I would have to question their planning," said Earl Robets, who works downtown. "We were in the Finals last year. They had to know there was a chance this would happen, so I'm sure they could've scheduled around it with that in mind. Someone wasn't completely thinking."
City officials maintained funding for the project just became available this year, and the work couldn't begin until now because of weather and the finalization of paving contracts.
"We had to start now because we had to get through with it by the RNC," Director of Public Works Michael Cox said. "We want to make sure the city is looking good and that's right inside the secured area for the RNC, so that's why we're trying to get it done."
Cox said city officials have been in contact with the Indians and Cavaliers, and adjusted the paving schedule around home games. He said police will assist with traffic flow, particularly in and out of nearby garages. However, the city said there could be delays entering and exiting some of them.
"There's always inconvenience to improvements, so if people would bear with us, traffic police are on top of this, we'll get people in and out of here," Cox said.
The resurfacing project is expected to be fully completed by July 8, according to the city.