NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio – A nearly $27 million construction project is the source of frustration in North Ridgeville after ODOT announced a one year delay.
The Route 20 widening project aims to increase lanes from three to five along a more than two mile stretch of the busy road.
Project delays have caused concern among business owners, city leaders and people who live along the road reduced to one lane each direction.
“I would say they just didn’t get the work done as they were supposed to get done,” said ODOT spokesperson, Amanda McFarland.
Both ODOT and city officials said their hands are tied due to the utility company Windstream.
North Ridgeville Safety Service Director Jeff Armbruster said the project began in 2018.
“The biggest frustration is to get the utility Windstream, the telephone company, telephones or poles out of our way so we can finish the project,” said Armbruster. “We started on this project with the utilities, meeting with them over four years ago with commitments. This was two years before the actual construction started.”
Tom Khalaf is the owner of City Diner and said although his customers are loyal, he’s not sure his business can financially survive another year of construction.
“It’s a business of making money, especially servers, good servers don’t want to be coming here and standing around all day they want to make money and it’s a big challenge for us,” he said.
Standing in his gravel driveway next to the road filled with orange barrels, Gene Gray said he wasn’t as concerned with construction until it came to a stop.
“When winter comes, somehow I’m going to have to shovel this out or snow blow it and I’m going to be snow blowing gravel,” said Gray.
A spokesperson for Windstream released the following statement:
“This is a complex project, and we must be careful not to disrupt service, including 911 service, for our customers as we move poles and cables. We’re keeping state and local officials apprised of our progress, and we’re staying head of the road crews. We expect to finish by Sept. 20 barring unforeseen issues.”