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Friday, July 18, 2014

You can close a road but you can’t close a bike trail

My road ends at Akron Cleveland Road, the main north-south between Akron and Cleveland, until the expressways and interstates were built. Heck, it used to go from Cleveland and Lake Erie to Marietta and the Ohio River. Interstate 77 does that now. 

Actually, there’s less than a mile of Akron Cleveland Road left, the city encroaching from the south has renamed it State Road, the name of the road at their border, and still is. The border has simply moved nine or ten miles north. 

A new business owner on Akron Cleveland Road, in our township, petitioned other business owners in the corridor to support changing the name of the last bit of the road to State Road, to de-confuse Google. Another business owner, who seemed to represent the opinion of most of the rest of the business owners, snarled at a public meeting, “It’s all we have left of ourselves. Let Google figure it out!”

But, I've digressed.

The bit of the road to the north that is in the village of Boston Heights is a bridge crossing a bike and hike trail.  In Ohio, or at least in our county, bridges that cross water are the responsibility of the county. Bridges that cross bike trails are the responsibility of—you got it. The jurisdiction they are in. Bridges are probably the most expensive bit of roadway ever devised by an engineer.  

I’m sure the original purpose of this bridge was to cross the substantial gully below. As in, the gully always was there and needed bridged, and the bike and hike trail was the afterthought. You now can get half way through Ohio on that particular trail, and under that bridge was probably the easiest route.

The bridge is deteriorating badly. My last venture on a bicycle ended with crashing into my own garage, so I haven’t looked at the underside of the bridge from a bicycle. I’ll take all the engineer’s words for it. It needed repaired. We’re talking millions. 

The village secured a grant for a study on how best to repair the bridge, and those road engineers came up with such a fine plan the state kicked in the money to implement it. They’re turning the bike trail into a tunnel under the bridge.

This project was supposed to happen last year, but then the hitch showed up, as it would. You cannot close a bike trail. That’s what the officials tell us, and I’m sure they’re right. Of course, there was a second hitch. They would close the road for something like three months.

That caused an out roar, led by the fire/EMS district and the police.  Closing the road would add fifteen or twenty minutes to response to a call in my end of the township. Out here in the sticks you can’t just go around the block.

The eventual compromise: detour the bike trail and keep one lane of traffic each way on the road. I took some pictures this morning.

There it is, the Bike and Hike Trail right under Akron Cleveland. And, I am extremely pleased with myself for finally mastering cropping a screen shot, although I'll probably need to watch the video a next time.

The trail, heading down to the bridge at the left.

But the trail is closed down there, take this detour.

The bike/hike detour takes them across the road here; there will be a switch to activate the lights and stop traffic. The lights haven't been activated yet.

This fellow skipped the detour lane and made his own way across.

Here's a look down the trail toward the bridge.

Here's a closer look. Not to worry; the operator left for a minute and I scooted right down. We said Hello as he came back and I left.

Job headquarters, across the road. The detour goes right behind and rejoins the trail.

A view of the road.

And traffic going by those two supervisors, still standing under the lights.


  1. Good grief, that looks like the main road from our town to the next one, less the bike trail/detour. I guess summer is the best time for road repairs, but does it really need to take ALL summer?

  2. Road work always seems to take a lot of barrels and a lot of standing around. You did a great job scoping out and photographing the situation.

  3. Why is everything soooooo complicated?

  4. Looks like a beautiful bike trail.

  5. It is that time of the year, that's for sure. Our main road has been a mess for months now.

  6. I haven't been able to get the pictures (yet)... but have biked some of the Emerald (?) rails to trail and the Erie Canal bike trail up your way. Maybe someday I'll get back to try it again. Next time I'll probably have a tricycle... or... heck... maybe a walker ;-)

  7. Hari Om
    Strewth! I'll walk... YAM xx

  8. One of the reasons I retired was because a small bridge over a creek was being replaced and the time to do that was expected to take a year. It added one half hour each way to my commute. They finished two months early, but by then I had thrown in the towel. With bureaucracy, everything takes forever.

  9. This seems like it could be a long project to complete.


  10. Well I am glad that the bike trail still continues to help bikers to get to their destination. I no longer bike but with gas reaching 4.09 I'm sure some folks around you ride a bike once in a while when their pennies are short. Nice that the money came forth for the bridge -- would be terrible if it caved while someone drove over it!! Nice to hear your comments from the public -- democracy in action. -- barbara

    1. Chunks of concrete had fallen from the bottom onto the trail; it was a danger.

  11. Interesting to see pictures of where you live Joanne - makes you seem more real somehow.

  12. It seems like a workable solution, hope it satisfies everybody.

  13. Dear Joanne,
    repairing roads and bridges and bike trails is important - and the utmost hobby of the officials in Berlin (and their friends, the builders). Everywhere here you find them drilling, hammering, noisy and very dusty. We exceed European laws for particulate matter PM by far - and they found out, that half of it is due to construction machines.