Shoreway beautification turns into an eyesore

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CLEVELAND– If you’ve driven the west Shoreway in Cleveland, you’ve probably seen that dozens of trees, planted in the median as part of a massive reconstruction and beautification project, are now dead.

“It’s just an eyesore,” said Bob Ferrato, of Lakewood, who is among the 35,000 drivers who use the Shoreway daily.

The median is overgrown with weeds and many of the 375 trees in the median are dead or struggling to survive. They were planted in the fall of 2017 as part of the $42 million Shoreway project that replaced concrete barriers with a landscaped median to create a boulevard.

“The trees along the Shoreway are definitely not in the shape the department wants them to be in, by any means,” said ODOT District 12 spokesperson Amanda McFarland.

McFarland said trees were going to be re-planted in the fall, but it became too late in the season. In the months since, ODOT and contractor Great Lakes Construction decided to do an assessment involving study of the ground conditions, and soil and tree samples. She said the assessment is expected to be completed by the end of June, and then a solution will be determined.

“I really think this is a great opportunity to make sure we can get it right this time, and what we do plant will survive with this assessment,” she said.

Since the trees did not survive their first-year establishment period, Great Lakes Construction will be responsible for a fix, according to ODOT.

“There will be no extra cost to the taxpayer to get these plantings replanted,” McFarland said.

She said Great Lakes Construction is responsible for maintaining the overgrown median, which she said has been hampered by rainy weather.

“It does look more unsightly than we would like it, but as soon as the weather allows, they’ll get in there and get that taken care of,” she said.

McFarland said the contractor plans to remove downed trees, including some which were tipped over as part of the sample collection process, and to mow the median before the All-Star Game in early July.

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