CLEVELAND (WJW) – FOX 8’s SkyFOX crew and traffic reporter Patty Harken have uncovered a dangerous situation on the roads, created by a construction project that is confusing some drivers and causing others to willingly break traffic laws.
As part of the project by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to reduce sewage overflow into Lake Erie, the Cuyahoga River and Big Creek, a short stretch of the southbound lanes of West 25th Street/Pearl Road have been shut down between I-71 and Riverside Avenue.
SkyFOX was overhead on Thursday morning, showing a number of southbound drivers either making illegal U-turns or ignoring signs for the lane closures and driving the wrong way.
In some cases, drivers were traveling head-on into northbound traffic.
Employees at Westown Tire on Pearl Road have a front row view of the dangerous conditions created by the lane closures.
“There was a red light here and a motorcycle jumped up on the curb, actually, just to get through this intersection, just to make it down here. I also saw an ambulance trying to get to the hospital and the traffic was dead stopped, both lanes. They literally had to run the light to get through.” said Westown employee Tony Croff.
“The only way you can react is ‘oh (expletive)!’ You know, ‘what the heck.’ Hopefully they don’t hit anybody,” Westown owner Morad Fares said.
We are told additional signs are now being added to warn southbound drivers not to continue through the intersection and to direct them to detour routes, but the sewer district says driver safety will depend on everyone obeying the signs.
We are told the southbound lanes will remain closed and detour routes will remain in effect until the sewer project is completed in late December.
“We would just encourage people to A, make sure they’re paying attention to the signs, B, slow down and C, if possible, to give yourself a few extra minutes so get through that intersection,” Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District spokesperson Jeannie Smith said.
FOX 8 asked Fares what he would say to drivers who are willingly breaking traffic laws and driving the wrong way or making U-turns.
“Just like with road rage or people doing crazy things on the highway, you can’t say anything to them. You’ve got to just close your eyes and hope nothing happens.”