I’m not sure what I was expecting Wednesday as I pointed the nose of my car at Wellington’s new underpass.
After all, I’ve racked up hundreds of thousands of miles behind the wheel. I’ve crossed bridges aplenty, tunnels galore.
Anticipation was key in this circumstance.
When I started with the Lorain County Community Newspapers in Summer 2002, a Wellington underpass was a key point of contention. At points over the past 13 years, its eventual completion seemed a doomed prospect.
So the weight of years, of many Enterprise articles, and plenty of phone calls was heavy as I prepared for my first trip.
It took only 27 seconds to cruise under the tracks and emerge on the other side with a long train running overhead the whole time.
And I’ll admit, it felt strangely refreshing. The opening of the underpass marks a kind of new start for the village.
I’m optimistic about how the passage will shape the perception of Wellington. Mayor Barbara O’Keefe is right — the underpass will act as a “gateway” to the village, and it’s gorgeous with its brick facing and murals.
Reporters will be watching in coming months to see how the drag weathers winter. Drivers need to take extra care on the slope, since bridges and underpasses are usually the first spots to ice over; and with a curve to boot there is potential for trouble.
Yet the stretch is wider than it appears from the top, so I’m hopeful about our prospects during snowy months.
We’ll continue to keep an eye on the project as it nears completion. Workers have much to do on the site, even though it’s open, and work isn’t expected to wrap in full until June 2016.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Jason Hawk | Wellington Enterprise Here’s the view as we begin our first trip through the new Wellington underpass.