RTA plans all service to be back up and running Tuesday after severe storms

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CLEVELAND -- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority stopped service on a portion of the Rapid after rainfall flooded the tracks and damaged a retaining wall on Sunday.

The section of a wall collapsed inside a tunnel at the Buckeye Woodhill Station.  Debris was left on the tracks, forcing the RTA to stop running the blue and green line trains between Tower City and Shaker Square.

A tornado warning was temporarily issued in Cuyahoga County where the storm quickly developed.

"Oh, that was a mess, but I'm glad I was in the house," said Vonita Burrage from Cleveland.  Marcus Mason was also startled by the storm.  "When it started, I just heard a boom - a real big boom."

While the storm knocked out power and did scattered damage in Northeast Ohio, the impact on the RTA continued to be felt on Monday.

"We know it's inconvenient when the tracks close down and the trains close down. We don't wanna do it anymore than anyone else but sometimes we just have to," said Mary Shaffer, an RTA spokesperson.

According to Shaffer, the entire public transportation system provides service to approximately 200,000 people a day.  5% of all riders rely on the line that is currently closed.

Riders, including Vonita Burrage, use the rapid every day.  "To go to work, to go downtown to hang out, to go see my son, it's my main transportation mode next to my husband but he works all the time so I just depend on rapid transit."

On Monday, crews were on the scene assessing and repairing the damage.  According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, the bridge is owned by the city of Cleveland but ODOT will complete the repairs since they already have crews working on a nearby street project.

While the line is shut down, RTA is using buses to get people where they need to go.

"The replacement buses are a little bit slower, you know. A lot of times I would say they're off schedule from what I'm used to, riding the rapid," said Marcus Mason.

"Unfortunately," said Shaffer, "sometimes Mother Nature does things to you - you can not anticipate and you just want to make sure everybody is safe, so we'd rather air on the side of caution, close everything down, bring out the big busses and just bring as many people as we can to where they need to go."

According to the RTA, the closed green and blue lines between Tower City and Shaker Square should be running again on Tuesday morning.  The red line is currently operating as usual.  It is the busiest Rapid line and carries approximately 30,000 people each day.

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