Update: Comments from Avon Lake Mayor K.C. Zuber have been added.

Avon/Avon Lake

Drivers hoping to cross over the railroad tracks on Lear Road today were surprised to find signs indicating it was closed today. Equally surprised were the city governments of Avon and Avon Lake.

Avon Lake Engineering Manager Joe Reitz said Norfolk Southern is redoing the grading on the railroad crossings. As the tracks are outside of the municipalities’ jurisdiction, they have no authority over when this work occurs. The company did not provide any advance notification to either city about the work or closing, Reitz said. When he called to speak with someone at the company, he said the company “admitted they dropped the ball on notification.”

“For whatever it’s worth, neither Avon nor Avon Lake knew about this until it was shut down today,” Reitz said.

Reitz first learned about the work when the Ohio Department of Transportation contacted him to see if he knew about the railroad closing the crossing at SR 83 scheduled for Aug. 8 for up to five days.

Lear Road should re-open tomorrow morning, Reitz said. Norfolk Southern will then move on to the crossings at Jaycox Road starting tomorrow afternoon into Friday and then Moore Road on Monday into Tuesday and Miller Road possibly Wednesday into Thursday. No more than one railroad crossing will be closed at a time.

It was frustrating for the city not to hear about the crossing’s closing from Norfolk Southern, Avon Lake Mayor K.C. Zuber said. The city will send a letter to the company about the lack of notification, he said.

The closing at Lear Road was a surprise to Avon Lake Fire Chief Bill Morris, who was informed of this when contacted by The Press today.

“Did they?” he said when told the crossing was closed. “I knew Bradley (Road in Bay Village) was being closed. So we’re going to have Bradley and Lear both being closed right now. Nice.”

The closing without notification could cause “big problems” for his department, he said, with Bradley and Krebs Road at the culvert closed. An ambulance transporting a patient needing Lear Road to get to St. John Medical Center would have to use Jaycox or travel Lake Road to Bassett/Crocker Road. The closing could also affect mutual aid to and from Avon, Bay Village and Westlake.

“If we can get advanced notice, it makes our pre-plans easier,” Morris said. “When we get call from a Press reporter that a railroad crossing is closed, that’s not a good thing.”

A call placed to Norfolk Southern was not returned by time of publication.

Check back for future updates.

Contact Bryan Wroten at bwroten@2presspapers.com

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