Money in the (stream)bank
What’s happening under Irishtown Bend, and how a $9 million Fed grant will help the Cuyahoga River region
Irishtown Bend is a prominent hooked stretch of the Cuyahoga River. It has faced threats for years as a result of erosion, and while it makes for a great photo, slope movement was identified as far back as 1880. The problem continues to this day and, while very slow but steady, has been more significant in recent decades.
The movement has caused damage along Riverbed Road in the past, and further weakening of the hillside could result in damage to property, infrastructure, and commerce. Funding for long-term solutions has been hard to come by for years, although patchwork repairs to the road and related infrastructure have been temporary fixes.
One such threat is to a large sewer, our Westerly Low Level Interceptor, that runs under and along the hillside. We’ve been tracking the pipe’s condition (pics below from a 2016 slide deck and 2012 inspection photos), addressing immediate issues until a long-term fix could be funded.
Today’s status? Our January 2019 inspection footage GIF’d below revealed current conditions. Very slow movement of the hillside continues, and our routine monitoring tracks the pace and extent of damage like you see here.
In 2017, we pledged $7 million to support a NOACA grant application to the US Department of Transportation focused on a long-term fix with bulkhead-stabilized banks, sewer repairs, and maybe more on top of the 17-acre site.
That brings us to this week. Today, USDOT officially announced a $9 million INFRA grant towards the project which will be combined with our pledged funds and those of other partners. This project is one of 20 across the country to be awarded a grant, and a number of Ohio officials were active and critical making it happen, including Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman, and Representatives Dave Joyce, Robert Gibbs, Marcy Kaptur, and Anthony Gonzalez.
Irishtown Bend is a part of our river’s and our region’s history. The infrastructure systems, both hidden and seen, surrounding it now have support to protect its future.