Infrastructure & Environment

River Infrastructure & Renewal

River-and-bridge

LEADING CRITICAL INITIATIVES FOR RIVER RENEWAL AND INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

The Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie are essential to our region’s economic prosperity and quality of place.

Since its inception in 1968, the Port Authority has played a central role on the lakefront, where our maritime facilities are located. In 2011 the Port stepped up to take a leadership role on the Cuyahoga River ship channel.

The 6.5 mile channel is a quintessential Cleveland destination whose water and riverbanks are shared by industrial, commercial, residential, and recreational users, as well as entertainment venues.

In cooperation with the City of Cleveland, the Port is taking a lead role in solving a set of connected and critical environmental and infrastructure problems  on the river that have vexed our community for years. Our aim is to not only fix the problems, but develop solutions that benefit the people who work, live and play along the river, as well as the wildlife that depend on its marine habitats.

  • Managing sediment dredged annually from the river. Enough sediment is scooped out annually to fill a sports stadium – and then deposited in what are essentially landfills along the lake. But experience and scientific analysis has shown that sediment is a resource that can be used to benefit the community. We are leading efforts to develop the mechanisms and market to make that happen.
  • Repairing or replacing bulkheads that line the ship channel. Research indicates that bulkheads do not exist or are in poor condition along 29,000 feet of the channel. Fixes are crucial to protect shipping and set the stage for more job-creating and recreational developments. We believe this problem can be tackled with leadership and creativity.
  • Stabilizing the Irishtown Bend hillside to stop its slow but relentless slide into the river. Ancient geologic problems well below the surface have caused the gradual slide. Working with scientists at universities and in the private sector, we believe we can develop options to remake the hillside in a way that allows for both riverfront access and construction of a stretch of the proposed multi-purpose trail connecting the Towpath to Wendy Park on the lakefront.
  • Environmental restoration initiatives along the river. The Port is launching a vessel system to remove floating debris from the ship channel and downtown lakefront, and aims to work closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address the cleanup of contaminated sediments that rest on the bottom of the Old River Channel. Both initiatives are part of community efforts to restore the river, which drew national attention and spurred new federal environmental legislation after catching fire in 1969. The aim is that by 2019 – the 50th anniversary of the fire – the river will be largely restored, with nearly all the impairments that had been identified by the U.S. EPA resolved.

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