(Cleveland) -- Now that Gov. John Kasich has announced that the proposed Opportunity Corridor will be a reality, a lot of Clevelanders are wondering, what's all the fuss?
The Opportunity Corridor is ODOT's plan for a 35 MPH boulevard, with a minimum number of intersections, that will go from the east end of I-490 at East 55th Street, curve through east side neighborhoods, eventually connecting with East 105th Street, following that street to University Circle.
(Map courtesy of ODOT)
Joe Roman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership was on WTAM 1100's "Wills and Snyder" program on Tuesday, and he said the Opportunity Corridor is literally a way to link "two of the four largest downtowns" in Ohio -- downtown Cleveland and University Circle. Roman says the boulevard will not just link two important parts of Cleveland, but will also open up the Central and Fairfax neighborhoods to future commercial development, as it'll now be easier for those areas to access the freeway system.
According to Roman, this is a serious step for Cleveland's future, and he is quick to point out that other things we now take for granted took a long time to plan. "Gateway's 20 years old. Seems like yesterday. It took ten years to plan it. Took ten years to get the Rock Hall done. You always have to be thinking about the next thing."
Gov. Kasich says construction of the $44 million first leg of the Opportunity Corridor could start as soon as next year, if the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission approves the governor's plan to use borrowed money to build the boulevard. The borrowed money will be repaid through future increased tolls on the Ohio Turnpike.
An ODOT advisory council has already given preliminary approval. The first phase will involve rebuilding East 105th from Quincy Avenue north to Chester Avenue.