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Additional Lane Closures on I-90 Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland
to allow for new testing of strain on structure

Garfield Heights, OH (Wednesday, October 1, 2008) As inspectors from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) continue to closely examine several sections of the Interstate 90 Innerbelt Bridge in downtown Cleveland, ODOT Director James Beasley has decided to close an additional lane of traffic in each direction as a precautionary measure, until additional gauges can be installed on the bridge to determine the impacts of deterioration and age on the steel members.

This extra measure being taken tonight will reduce traffic on the Innerbelt Bridge to two lanes in each direction and reduce the weight crossing the structure throughout the day. The Ontario Street entrance ramp to I-90 westbound also remains closed. Crews will also close the E. 9th Street, E. 14th Street, Ontario Street and I-77 northbound ramps to I-90 westbound.  Motorists may detour via I-77 southbound to I-490 westbound to I-90 westbound.  On a typical day, more than 119,000 vehicles travel along the stretch of I-90 on this 50-year-old bridge.

Previous inspections of the Innerbelt Bridge have shown that the steel members are aging faster than expected. On Monday, ODOT crews began a new round of detailed inspections, using an ultrasonic thickness gauge to determine how much strength the steel has lost due to deterioration.

In the coming days, ODOT will partner with experts from the University of Cincinnati and Case Western Reserve University to install strain gauges at several key points on the bridge. These strain gauges will measure how much the steel beams compress or stretch, allowing engineers to calculate the actual stress and strain being put on the bridge.

Until those new measurements can be made, these closures will remain in place. ODOT Director Beasley will then determine what additional action will be needed, including any potential reinforcement of the existing structure or continued restrictions on traffic.  While no specific timetable has been determined, those decisions will likely be made next week pending any unforeseen delays.

As a reminder, ODOT is working with the City of Cleveland and local law enforcement to designate alternate routes and to encourage travelers to utilize the services of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) in order to reduce congestion.  Suggested alternate routes follow:

Suggested alternate routes from the east:
I-77 southbound to I-490 westbound
State Route 2 (Cleveland Memorial Shoreway) westbound
I-271 southbound to I-480 west to State Route 176 (Jennings Freeway) north 

Suggested alternate routes from the west:
I-490 eastbound to I-77 northbound
State Route 2 (Cleveland Memorial Shoreway) eastbound
State Route 176 (Jennings Freeway) south to I-480 eastbound to I-271 north
W. 25th Street to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge
W. 25th Street to the Detroit-Superior Bridge 

In December, ODOT announced a $140 million major rehabilitation and preservation project to address the bridge deck, a deficient drainage system and supporting members for the outside lanes. ODOT continues to work with its Innerbelt partners on building consensus for the overall $1.1 billion Innerbelt Modernization Plan.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT THE ODOT DISTRICT 12 PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE:
Jocelynn Clemings 216.584.2006 or Faye Callahan 216.584.2005
Ted Strickland, Governor             James G. Beasley, P.E., P.S., ODOT Director      Bonita G Teeuwen P.E., ODOT District 12 Director