Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Planned Expressway to Lorain's Port – 1965

The 1950s and 60s were a time of much highway planning in Lorain County. Many of the road projects eventually happened; others were scuttled for some reason or another.

Here's one of those scuttled projects, which was the subject of a study in 1965. It was an expressway designed to connect Lorain's port area with the area to the south. An article in the June 22, 1965 Journal stated that the planned highway would start on Route 57 north of Vincent and then extend north and west, crossing Pearl Avenue and then following the B & O railroad tracks north.

The map accompanying the article is shown at left.

The article noted, "A small section of U. S. Steel Lorain Works would be spanned after the highway crossed E. 28th Street from Fulton Avenue. The study called for the road to link up with the W. 21st Street bridge and then up Henderson Drive in the city.

"In actuality, the plan, proposed in May, 1956, was estimated to be an $8 million arterial project. This included an elevated freeway through the heart of Lorain's industrial area which would provide a direct connection from Erie Avenue to the Ohio Turnpike."

I don't know why the project was never built, but it's a shame. More than 50 years after the 1965 article, Lorain's industrial base is gone and tourism is the city's only hope for the future. Providing a way for tourists approaching from the south to access the lakefront quickly via an elevated highway made sense then – and now.


Rick Kurish said...

An article in the Chronicle - Telegram of Dec 14,1957 indicated that the "elevated expressway" proposed to connect Route 57 with downtown Lorain was dead due to a lack of funds and the inability to acquire right of way. A new proposal to connect route 57 and downtown Lorain was sent to the State Highway Dept. requesting a new study. This route proposed a road from route 57, possibility using East 36th St. to Leavitt Road and then north to West Erie Avenue. Lorain city council wasn't keen on the route because they wanted the road to terminate nearer the downtown business district. So as usual with projects in Lorain, lack of funds and failure to agree on the route ended the effort. To this day there is still no easy way to get to the lake from the Ohio Turnpike.

Dan Brady said...

Thanks for looking that up, Rick!

JT Jones said...

I love this blog. Love showing my father who was born in the 60s the things he saw growing up. Myself as a young CSU urban studies graduate and life long resident of Lorain I have always been interested in roads in and around Lorain and Cleveland. I always look at one of the demises of Lorain's downtown central business districts was route 2/90 bypassing the city. This still hurts our city today. If you look at a map at the 611 Colorado exit you see the highway turn south rather than taking that Colorado ave route which would lead it into the city. That couldn't have just been a coincidence. Did that have something to do with the turnpike to the south and the Midway Mall influence? I love reading up on information about this. Might have to take a trip to the library.

Dan Brady said...

Hi JT,
Glad you enjoy the blog! I share your interest in roads & highways and how their planning and construction ultimately affect the various local communities. There have always been so many factors at work; initially the "good roads" movement of the 1920s, leading to the federal highway system, the widening and twinning of the old two-lanes (such as U. S. 40) during the war to be able to move troops quickly, the creation of the turnpikes, and ultimately the birth of the interstate highways. Add to that each city's personal needs and you have a fascinating story. It seems like many times a highway was needed and proposed, and what eventually was built didn't quite match up with the original concept. I think Lorain had a lot of those; I read about a 'super highway' to Cleveland that was proposed decades before I-90 was built; I'l try to find the article. It never was built, I think it was supposed to parallel Route 611. But land acquisition problems and lack of funding scuttled many a project. I remember how long it took to build I-90, with chunks of it built here and there.