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Smitherman wants Columbia Parkway landslides declared a city emergency

Posted at 5:01 PM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-15 17:05:51-04

CINCINNATI — Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman on Friday introduced a motion that would, if passed, declare the increasingly frequent and disruptive landslides on Columbia Parkway a city emergency.

Like the national emergency that dominated Washington throughout the week, a city emergency would free up government money for an expensive construction project. Smitherman’s motion calls for Cincinnati to “use whatever capital dollars (are) necessary to repair and stabilize the Columbia Parkway retaining wall and landslide issues.”

City Manager Patrick Duhaney estimated in a Feb. 15 memo the cost of a permanent solution to the landslides — likely a new, higher retaining wall — would be about $9.7 million.

He acknowledged in the memo that the process of building the new wall could prove just as disruptive to traffic as the landslides. He did not estimate how long such construction could take.

However, Duhaney wrote, a costly solution would always be preferable to none.

"The constant closing of the Parkway is incredibly inconvenient to the thousands of commuters who rely on it every day; however, closing it is necessary to allow City workers to address the public safety risks posed by the landslides," he wrote.

Smitherman's motion will be go before City Council's Law and Public Safety Committeee on Monday.