Greater Cleveland RTA’s Waterfront Line service suspended indefinitely

Sept. 9, 2021
In August, consultants performed an extensive inspection of the Water Line Bridge, leading them to recommend service not be resumed until critical infrastructure was improved.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA) Waterfront Line service has been suspended indefinitely due to safety concerns related to the Waterfront Line Bridge.  

The bridge is located on the East Bank of the Flats and extends over Front Street and the Norfolk Southern Rail tracks. 

During a routine inspection conducted in 2018, stress fractures were identified. As a result, monitoring of the bridge began and traffic was restricted (one train crossing at a time). Last October, service along the Waterfront Line was suspended due to a track rehabilitation project at Tower City.  

This past summer, before the planned resumption of service, the bridge underwent an extensive inspection. This inspection was conducted by Hardesty & Hanover. Preliminary results released in August recommended four interim support towers be built to stabilize the bridge. Additionally, the consultant advised service remain suspended until a permanent solution was designed and built.  

Ruhlin Construction has been awarded an emergency contract to construct the towers, scheduled to be completed by late October 2021. Hardesty & Hanover has begun design work on the permanent solution. Time frame for the total rehabilitation of the bridge is approximately two years. A total of $6 million from Greater Cleveland RTA’s Federal Transit Administration federal formula grants has been budgeted for the project. 

For Browns fans attending home games this season, Greater Cleveland RTA will not be able to provide alternate service due to normal game day congestion and street closures. Fans riding the Red, Green or Blue Lines to Tower City are directed to walk north on West 3rd Street to FirstEnergy Stadium. 

The Waterfront Line was opened on July 10, 1996, designated as a legacy project for the city of Cleveland’s Bicentennial. The Line serves to link Greater Cleveland RTA’s Red, Blue and Green Lines from Tower City to attractions along the East Bank of the Flats and North Coast Harbor. 

Greater Cleveland RTA says it apologizes for any inconvenience this closure may cause. However, the safety of riders, staff and the general public remains the top priority.