DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Anyone who has tried to get into, or out of, downtown around the rush hours in the past two weeks has noticed the backups are worse than normal and it can all be blamed on one project.
The Shoreway is a major feeder of traffic for west side commuters.
According to ODOT 38,664 vehicles a day use the Main Avenue Bridge.
When a section of it was closed to one lane it clogged up like a heart artery, and much like blood in a clogged artery it put a strain on the system and forced it to go somewhere else.
The same is true for traffic trying to get in, and out of downtown now.
It took about a week for a lot of the 38,000 drivers to learn the Shoreway was no longer a good route.
The next best option driver searched out? Get to I-90.
In the morning, more west side drivers are piling onto I-90 making it a mess coming into downtown.
In the evening, instead of taking the Shoreway home, they head right back to I-90.
The problem is downtown streets become jammed with traffic trying to get south to the highway.
The good news is Phase 1 of the project that took the Shoreway down to one lane for six weeks is set to be completed by late May according to ODOT.
The bad news Phase 2 and Phase 3 are also six-week projects that will continue to keep it closed to one lane.
The second and third phases will simply move the single lane traffic to a new lane to allow workers access to the middle of the bridge and the opposite side.
- Phase 1- April 16-late May
- Phase 2- Late May-early July
- Phase 3- Early July-late August
All of the dates are approximates, dependent on the weather.
Officials with ODOT say they have gotten calls and complaints from people who use the Shoreway.
ODOT's advice has been to tell people to use I-90 instead.
They claim however ODOT has gotten no calls or complaints from drivers in downtown seeing traffic jams trying to get to I-90.
Also consider the Tribe has been out of town, or there has been terrible weather keeping crowds away, so when those two situations are corrected the traffic will be even worse for the evening commute.