RTA Suspends Waterfront Line, Browns Fans on Rapid Will Have to Hoof it from Tower City to Stadium


Waterfront Line, baby.
  • Waterfront Line, baby.
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has announced that it will suspend its Waterfront rapid transit train line indefinitely, due to safety concerns about a bridge over the Norfolk Southern Railway tracks in the Flats.

Structural issues were discovered at the bridge in 2018. And this summer, after track work at Tower City briefly suspended Waterfront line service, a thorough inspection of the bridge led to recommendations for a major rehabilitation.

Temporary support towers are being constructed to stabilize the bridge, but a permanent solution is likely to take two years. Six million dollars from Federal Transit Administration grants have been initially budgeted for the project. The consultant that conducted the bridge inspection recommended that service be suspended until the permanent solution is in effect.

The Waterfront line, which opened in 1996 after strenuous advocacy from the business community, is notoriously underutilized. It's an extension of the Blue and Green lines from Tower City and takes passengers along the East Bank of the Flats toward waterfront destinations on the North Coast Harbor like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Amtrak station and FirstEnergy Stadium.

In its press release, RTA apologized for the inconvenience of suspending service on the eve of the Browns' season. RTA will not be providing an alternate shuttle, as it typically does when it closes routs for track work and other reasons, due to "game day congestion and street closures" downtown. 

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