NORTH ROYALTON – An aging culvert on Akins Road has deteriorated quicker than anticipated due to June’s heavy rainfall, forcing the county to close the roadway at the York Road intersection.

The Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works, which had already identified the culvert’s need and had it in their sights for their replacement program, made the decision to close the road Aug. 7, earlier than planned. The road will remain closed until sometime this spring when that project can be completed.

City officials say it is unfortunate that it must be closed this long but it is better to be safe than sorry.

“For the safety and welfare of the traveling public, the county has closed this section. All you need is for a huge truck to go down that road and vibrate the sides of that deteriorated wall and all of the sudden it could fail and then there would be a liability on the county and the city,” said Assistant City Engineer Dan Collins. “Hopefully, it won’t inconvenience too many motorists.”

Mayor Bob Stefanik agrees.

“The old culvert was scheduled for replacement, but unfortunately, it deteriorated quicker than what the county thought it would due to the amount of heavy rain we had in June. The county made the decision to shut it down until the spring,” he said.

The road was formally closed at 1 p.m. Aug. 7.

Spring rains and wet weather accelerated the planned replacement of this 87-year-old structure. The sidewalls, or abutments, are cracked, shifted and undermined to the extent that they are near collapse, officials said.

York and Bennett roads are the designated detours.

The existing structure, Collins said, is a cast-in-place reinforced concrete box culvert. It will likely be replaced by a 12-by-5 feet pre-cast, four-sided box culvert at some point in the spring.

Ward 5 Councilman Steve Muller, in whose territory the project lies, said it is unfortunate it will close for such an extended period of time, but it is a must. He asks for the residents’ understanding.

“There’s never a good time to close a portion of a road and detour traffic. Unfortunately, this closure from now until spring is quite long, so we will need the understanding of residents surrounding this area,” he said. “We all need to keep in mind that it needs to be taken care of, and it’s good it’s being done while the culvert is still functioning.”

More details are expected as this project approaches.

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