County likely to fund Irishtown Bend rehabilitation

(Cleveland) - Pending Council approval, the County will contribute $1.7 million to the rehabilitation of the Irishtown Bend along the Cuyahoga River, with funds for this project going toward the engineering, reconstruction and relocation of Franklin Boulevard due to deteriorating bulkheads that line and support the River.

The western segment of Franklin Boulevard is located within the failure plane of the hillside slope, which has resulted in pavement failures that require frequent maintenance. If the bulkheads fail, a collapse of the hillside into the river would block all movement in both directions, with roads already closed due to movement and erosion of the hillside. 

“I am happy to be joining other community organizations in the fight to maintain our river’s well-being,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “The collapse of this hillside would have a devastating impact on the river itself, our economy and our jobs. Our maritime commerce sector is worth an estimated $3.5 billion, and there are over 20,000 jobs that rely on this shipping channel, both of which could be lost if we don’t do this rehabilitation.” 

Work will be done to stabilize the hillside by replacing 2,600 feet of the bulkhead wall, the most immediate need of the project. The total anticipated cost of this project is $2.1 million.

Also proposed are infrastructure improvements including repairs to damaged sewer lines, trails and grading. Plans have also been proposed for the creation of a 17-acre park, with funds allocated by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA).

Several other organizations are also committed to funding this project, including the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, the City of Cleveland and the State of Ohio. 

“The Port of Cleveland is glad to partner with Cuyahoga County in the effort to stabilize Irishtown Bend,” said Port of Cleveland President and CEO, Will Friedman. “The hillside represents vital infrastructure that must be addressed to protect Cleveland’s robust maritime economy.” 

“The Cuyahoga River is such a big part of our community, whether it be for business or recreation,” said Director of Public Works, Michael Dever. “Hillside stability is continuing to deteriorate, creating a severe safety hazard, so acting now is in the best interest of both businesses and residents.” 

The design of the project is slated to begin within the next six months, with construction following in mid-2020.

(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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