Fight over broken bridge has Olmsted Falls Mayor threatening to close emergency access road

Fight over broken bridge has Olmsted Falls Mayor threatening to close emergency access road
The bridge on East River Road has been closed since 2016. The road is private, and residents living there can't agree on who will pay for the bridge to be rebuilt. An emergency access easement is located in a nearby cul de sac where homeowners are complaining about traffic.

OLMSTED FALLS, OH (WOIO) - Ruby Haun was brave enough to tell us back in December about the tragic day when her son Larry had a heart attack at her East River Road home in Olmsted Falls.

Fight over broken bridge has Olmsted Falls Mayor threatening to close emergency access road

“He had had a heart attack, and he had just walked in the door, and he collapsed,” said Haun.

The bridge that leads to her house was open at the time, but emergency crews couldn’t make it across, so they tried the emergency access road that leads to her home, but the entranceway was locked, and no one could find the keys.

Larry later died.

Now, Olmsted Falls Mayor James Graden is threatening to close that same access road again.

Residents, he said, living on the cul de sac where the entrance to the access road is, are complaining about the traffic.

The thing is that since 2016, the bridge that leads to just over half a dozen homes - including Haun’s - has been closed because it is unsafe, and no one has been able to agree on who will pay to rebuild it.

The only access close to half a dozen homeowners have to their homes is the beat-up emergency access easement road.

Graden recently told homeowners the same thing he told us by e-mail today:

“The city gave the residents the opportunity to devise a plan to repair their bridge this summer, and if they do not have a plan in the near future, then the easement path will be closed in 60 days.”

That has Ruby and her neighbors like Mary School worried.

“For 60 years the owners have been responsible for the maintenance of their bridge. Now, all of a sudden, it all changes, and we’re all responsible,” said School.

Haun and School say that on their fixed incomes they can’t afford to pay for the bridge.

If the access road closes, there will be no driveable access to Haun and School’s homes.

They are afraid that the safety hazard that made it hard for emergency crews to get to Ruby’s son may soon put other lives at risk.

“I said to them, ‘Do you not realize the perilous position you are putting the city in?’ One accident, one health issue - we already had a health issue with Ruby’s son - would turn this city upside down,” added School.

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