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After 16 years effort Avon Mayor James Smith’s dream came true with the cutting of a red ribbon.

The opening of the Lear Road Interchange, an exit opposed at times by city council. But when he convinced members of the need other hurdles got in the way.

“When we finally got going there were cities and other government agencies that didn’t want us to do it and it’s finally done,” said Mayor James Smith.

With traffic backing up at crowded exit ramps closer to downtown a traffic safety danger should be eased.

“Certainly this is about traffic but just as big an element of this project is economic development, its hard to imagine what that intersection is going to look like in 5 years. In fact, I’m going to step out of the picture. I’m going to save this video and come back in 5 years and see,” said Mayor Smith.

Land with highway access means opportunity for growth and jobs. Among those already here the Cleveland Clinic who paid a third the bill for the ramp.

“When we made the decision to build the health center it was before we had the commitment to do the interchange and we just thought if we build they’ll come,” said Mayor Smith.

The Clinic also got a land donation from Dick Jacobs. The Jacobs Group pitched in too and because of long delays money was borrowed at 3.2%, that’s 2% lower than expected.

“That was really good that some people held up you know. They didn’t realize what they were doing is a favor for us and I didn’t realize at the time they were doing a favor for us, but what they did was save us a ton of money,” said Mayor Smith.

So the barriers are down, traffic is flowing and the mayor is waiting for tax dollars to begin flowing from new jobs.

Article Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News

LOCAL: Avon’s New I-90 Interchange Finally Opens for Motorists and Travelers  was originally published on