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Controversial Olmsted Falls access road to remain open for now

OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio - A Cuyahoga County judge has granted a temporary injunction, keeping open an emergency access road being used by nine Olmsted Falls homeowners to get to their homes.

People living on East River Road, which is a private road, have been using the dirt access road for the last four years after the city deemed a private bridge providing access to their road unsafe.

People living on neighboring East Northwood Drive, the cul-de-sac street that the access road connects to, have complained about the increased traffic in an area filled with children.

On April 1, Olmsted Falls Mayor Jim Graven sent East River Road residents a letter stating they had until noon Friday to come up with a contract to fix the bridge or else the access road would be closed.

"The city's position is it's a private bridge, a private drive, that they need to replace," Graven said.

Residents estimated fixing the bridge would cost them about $200,000. There has been disagreement among some of the affected residents about the best solution and who should pay for it.

One idea, to use an open lot to build a new, permanent access road connecting to East Northwood Drive, was rejected by the city.

"The residents feel that we are being pushed into a situation that we don't really feel that we have any recourse," said East River Road homeowner Maura Norton. "Can [the mayor] make you build a bridge? I don't think he can."

As city workers prepared to place a chain across the access road Friday, a judge granted a temporary injunction filed by a group of six of the nine East River Road homeowners.

That will keep the road open through July 1, with a mediation hearing scheduled for June 20 for both sides to try to reach a resolution.

Graven said a judge may end up deciding a way forward.

Continuing coverage, here.

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