The City of Sandusky announced today that the Columbus Avenue underpass in Sandusky, Ohio, will reopen to northbound traffic only beginning the afternoon of Thursday, February 16, 2023. The City asks motorists to use extreme caution when traveling through the underpass and to not exceed speeds of 15 miles per hour. Detour signage will be placed for southbound traffic.

Since the derailment occurred in October 2022, the City has been working with Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) and their contractors to reopen Columbus Avenue as soon as it was safe to do so. NS’s contractors have been on-site working to repair damage that occurred as a result of the derailment. In January 2023, the City entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Mosser Construction to develop plans and complete repairs that occurred from the derailment and from the initial cleanup efforts. Those construction plans are currently under development.

“We understand the frustration from our residents about how long this process has been taking,” said Aaron Klein, the City’s Director of Public Works. “Our city crews are working the best they can to coordinate with the railroad to get the repairs done as quickly and safely as possible, so that we can get the road fully reopened.”

The City worked with NS to develop a maintenance of traffic plan to reopen the underpass to one-way northbound traffic. The concrete repairs to the retaining walls on both sides of the underpass have recently been poured and allowed to cure properly, which has allowed for the partial reopening to traffic. Additional repairs still need to be made to the sidewalks, handrails, sewer lift station, and other infrastructure that was damaged. The closed traffic lane will be used for staging areas and other construction activities. Northbound traffic will be routed through either the east or west lanes depending on which sections of the underpass are undergoing repairs. Because of this, the underpass cannot yet be safely reopened to two-way traffic. The sidewalks through the underpass will remain closed until further notice.

The approximate target date for full reopening of the street can be determined once the repair plans have been fully developed. The City will keep the community updated on the progress of the repair efforts, as well as any changes to the reopening of the underpass.