Mentor drivers get new traffic pattern for Center Street bridge construction

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 2:23 PM EST
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MENTOR, Ohio (WOIO) - After Mentor residents and businesses voiced their concerns over the proposed traffic pattern for the Center Street bridge project, there’s now a change of plans.

The SR-615 (Center Street) bridge between Carpenter Drive and Lindsay Drive over the railroad is going to have its bridge deck replaced.

The project is slated to be complete in October of 2024.

“This is about a 700-footbridge and the bridge deck is in need of replacement so they’re going to be coming in and ripping it our completely,” said Brent Kovacs with the Ohio Department of Transportation.

ODOT originally planned to shut down all southbound traffic for the next eight months, leaving two lanes of northbound traffic open for drivers.

This would have forced southbound traffic to take SR-2 to SR-306 to U.S. 6, which is a 10-minute detour.

Mentor businesses feared it would literally drive away customers.

“Anyone going down 615 to I-90 won’t be coming past Spudnuts because they’re going to have to detour around. There’s a lot of small businesses that it’s going to affect,” owner Geta Sidley stated.

“The proposed detours are quite far. That bridge is a critical artery. Some of us are right next to it. Right next to the closure end, so the impact is great. Particularly being in the food service business, I believe the impact is substantial because people choose food often for time and convenience,” said Ed Sammon, who owns two Center Street businesses.

The detour also impacts students, parents, and staff heading to Mentor High School, which is on the same road as the construction project.

“They just made it through the last three years with the COVID,” said Sidley.

Residents and business owners wanted to see a way for both north and southbound traffic to continue.

However, the Ohio Department of Transportation originally said it was not possible.

“The first reason is the road is just not wide enough to maintain the proper width of traffic. The second reason is northbound traffic sees an extreme peak in traffic during the p.m. rush hour. So if we did we did reduce northbound down to one lane, it would cause significant backups miles long every afternoon rush hour,” said Kovacs.

This is no longer the case.

ODOT stated its District 12 met with the City of Mentor late last week to discuss a new traffic pattern in an effort to maintain access to businesses and residents around the bridge.

Weather permitting on March 20, traffic will now be restricted to one lane in each direction, rather than shutting down southbound traffic and leaving two lanes for northbound drivers.

ODOT said this new traffic pattern will be in place for a two-week trial period.

“If safety measures are met, this traffic pattern will remain in place. However, if safety measures are not met, the traffic pattern will adjust and return to the original plan,” ODOT stated.

As long as those safety measures are met during this two-week trial period, it will remain in place through spring of 2024.

If you want to avoid the one-lane traffic entirely, you can still take SR-2 to SR-306 to U.S. 20 as a detour.


  • SR 615 (Center St.) bridge between Carpenter Dr. and Lindsay Dr. over the railroad will be reduced to one lane in each direction beginning on Monday, March 20, through spring 2024 for bridge deck replacement.
  • Optional alternate route: will be SR 2 to SR 306 to U.S. 20