Bridge battle: Olmsted Falls mayor threatens to close road to neighborhood

OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio-- The East River Road Bridge in Olmsted Falls has been a point of contention between residents and the city for decades.

“It closed about four years ago. We’ve tried through a number of methods to have it remediated, replaced, repaired. It’s past repair at this point,” said John Guzik, resident.

So, who pays for the repair? The city said it’s a private bridge on private property.

“Some of us back here are willing to replace it, but the city is requiring it is built highway road standards, which is impractical cost wise. Estimates are $200,000,” Guzik said.

Now, the city is threatening to close the only other access, a road created for emergency use at a cul-de-sac in a nearby development.

That is, unless an agreement is made regarding the construction and payment of the bridge by June 14 at noon.

“We believe it to be a life-saving issue. We won’t have immediate access to enter or exit our homes and neither will emergency services,” Guzik said.

For years, residents of this Northwood cul-de-sac have dealt with cars cutting through their backyards to access East River Road.

“We have these cars that go straight back and sometimes they aren’t slow. When you buy a house in a cul-de-sac like we did, it’s because we have little kids, privacy,” said a resident who didn’t want to be identified.

On April 1, the Mayor James Graven sent out a letter to residents on East River Road. He released the following statement on Monday.

“The City informed them that the usage of this access has created opposition by the Northwood cul-de-sac residents that have concerns about vehicle noise and safety issues. The Northwood cul-de-sac residents believe that it is unsafe to allow vehicles to traverse a narrow emergency access that should only be used by emergency vehicles. The East River Road residents have had over nine weeks to either present a formal contract for bridge construction, or make alternative arrangements to access their property. The closing will be postponed if a formal contract is presented to the City signed by the East River Road residents to the effect that they have agreed to build the bridge forthwith."

Signs posted state the road will close Friday, June 14 at noon.

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