Cleveland 2021: Opportunity Corridor Closes Just Days After Opening; No Timetable on Repairs

Days after the long-delayed grand opening of the Opportunity Corridor, a "complex subterranean" issue has closed the eastside boulevard indefinitely. The Opportunity Corridor steering committee called the issue "unexpected," but promised that it would be dealt with soon.

"Our priority is not to get this resolved quickly. It's to get it resolved correctly," an ODOT spokesman said. "And you won't hear us apologizing for that." The corridor has been under construction since spring 2015 and has so far cost $400 million, approximately $70 million over budget.

An engineer close to the project who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the issue was really more like a "disaster," requiring huge portions of the boulevard to be completely rebuilt and, in many cases, reconceptualized. He said he'd be surprised if a functional Opportunity Corridor would be ready for use any time before 2030.

When presented with the 2030 date, Greater Cleveland Partnership media liaison Dexter Crull laughed and said he wouldn't be discussing completion dates. What he would discuss, he said, was how excited he and others are about the exciting opportunities this presents for economic development.

"This is a challenge, but it gives us a chance to be really intentional about the type of development we want," Crull said. "It's almost a godsend, to be perfectly honest. There's so much energy around this project, we just want to make sure that we're getting a full range of businesses and investment along the Corridor."

The Opportunity Corridor, long billed as an "economic driver," has yielded zero long-term jobs.

In 2019, three businesses did open their doors on the Corridor, with huge tax incentives, in preparation for the opening. All three have since relocated or shuttered.

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