Firefighters and police, meanwhile, approve of a route allowing them to bypass trains chugging along Tiffin Avenue and Venice Road.
But to others — some residents, area business owners and nonprofit officials — the new traffic layout is a bit frustrating.
About a week ago, Ohio Department of Transportation officials debuted the $11.4 million west end overpass. City taxpayers contributed $575,000 for the project, and the remaining funds came from state coffers and Norfolk Southern.
Completed 10 months ahead of schedule, the overpass aims to streamline traffic. Crews built a bridge, running parallel to Venice Road and spanning above railroad tracks near Superior Street.
“Key and foremost, (the overpass) increases the safety of the motor public of residents living here in the city of Sandusky,” said Allen Biehl, District 3 deputy director for the state transportation department.
Still, the project has its critics, namely some residents who live in that part of the city.
For starters, the configuration forced engineers to block off or detour various routes. Among the new changes:
• Tiffin Avenue dead ends and no longer intersects with Superior Street or West Perkins Ave.
• Tiffin Avenue is no longer a direct route to far-west segments of Venice Road. Motorists need to take the overpass to reach the westernmost portions of Venice Road.
• The triangle-shaped residential area hemmed in by Wilson Street, the sliceand-diced portion of Tiffin Avenue and West Perkins Avenue is not accessible from the main portions of Tiffin Avenue or Venice Road.
• Venice Road no longer runs continuous, and instead doglegs onto George Street. q Superior Street, on the north and south ends, deadends just south of Venice Road by the overpass.
Over the past few weeks, the Register sought opinions from people impacted by the change.
“I don’t have a problem with the detours or construction, as I know the overpass is much needed and is the end result. My frustration centers around the constant delays due to train traffic, especially now with that extra spur that Norfolk Southern put in that goes along the Edgewater Avenue tracks. Those delays are long and are going to result in many people being late.” — Rita Dominick, Venice Heights Boulevard resident
“They need more signage out here. Signs would help out with the confusion. It would also be nice to have the signs of the name of businesses.” — Dan Bauer, property owner on Venice Road by George Street
“The month that (Venice Road) was closed, sales in our ice cream parlor were down quite a bit from last year. As far as hurting our business, I think it’s too early to tell.” — Logan Meisler, Toft’s corporate sales manager.
“We are being held hostage out here. Every day people call us and ask ‘where are you?’ We’re in such a little dead-end zone out here that any kind of closure makes it tough for people to find us. — Barbara Hargreaves, Erie County Humane Society director.
“It’s confusing out here. Why did they cut Wilson and Wilbur streets? What is wrong with a stop or yield sign so they can enter the overpass or get on Venice Road without having to go all the way back around Perkins Avenue? — Earl Wetzel, Venice Road resident
“Semi trucks are coming down on Pennsylvania Avenue off West Perkins Avenue and heading north on Tiffin Avenue. Then they get to my house at Wilbert Street and get stuck there. I got trucks going onto my drive and grass to get out. It’s kind of a hassle, and it’s not really my job to direct traffic.” — Dewey Woodruff, Tiffin Avenue resident
“On Wilson Street, where the new turn is, people are so used to going straight. Now that they can’t do it anymore, they get all mad. Sometimes they go right over the curbs (to get to Venice Road). Semi trucks, tour buses and tankers are coming down Wilbert Street. We don’t mind it, what we are complaining about mainly is that they did not put up signs to tell people where to go. People are so used to coming to Cedar Point, and they don’t even have a sign of how to get there on the new route. — Anna Dunn, Wilbert Street resident