Thursday, April 7, 2011

Massive slipped concrete slab inpacting Chagrin River steelheading

Steelhead angler Barry Butera of Euclid sees more than just an eyesore when he views a large slab of concrete resting squarely in the lower Chagrin River.

This slab appears to have slipped from the Norfolk Southern Railroad trestle embankment that spans the Chagrin River just downstream from the Rt. 20 bridge in downtown Willoughby.

The slab is massive and has changed the whole dynamics of the stream, says Butera, who is also the president of the Eastlake-based Chagrin River Salmon Association.

However, Willoughby officials are concerned more with the potential the slab may have in under-cutting the trestle or the stream bank.

“It’s kind of screwed up the fishing now with the current going on the east side and now it’s shifted the current over to the west side,” Butera said. “I’ll have to look at it when the water goes down, if it ever does.”

Willoughby mayor David E. Anderson said the city is aware of the problem and informed the railroad about three weeks ago when the city first found out about the slippage.

“The railroad said it is checking on the trestle and concrete slab about twice a week,” Anderson said.

Angelo Tomaselli, Willoughby’s Public Services Director, is keeping a watchful eye of his own on the water-diverting piece of concrete.

“It’s a huge slab,” Tomaselli said. “(Norfolk Southern) will have to do something about it because it could cause erosion.”

According to Butera who fished the location several days ago erosion has already begun.

“The hole that was there isn’t anymore,” Butera said.

Norfolk Southern has been contacted for a reply but has yet to respond.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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