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Continued Heavy Truck Traffic Delays Additional Lane Opening on I-90 Innerbelt Bridge 

Cleveland (Wednesday, November 19, 2008)Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) engineers and the Department’s automated traffic recorders  show that nearly 1,900 heavy trucks continue to use the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge through downtown Cleveland, despite a weight restriction placed on the structure as part of ODOT’s Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan which was announced last Wednesday.

This continued heavy truck traffic has forced ODOT to delay the opening of one additional lane in each direction which would have created three lanes of through traffic in both the east and westbound directions.

Nearly 100 signs prohibiting heavy trucks from using the Innerbelt Bridge are in place and the ban is enforceable by law. The new 2.5 miles route via I-77 and I-490 is clearly marked.

Today, ODOT will work with the City of Cleveland and its Division of Police to enforce the weight restriction.  Acting in the public’s best interest, ODOT will maintain only two lanes in each direction until which time all heavy truck traffic is detoured from the bridge. 

Under ODOT’s Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan, the East 9th Street ramp to I-90 westbound and Ontario Street ramp to I-77 southbound will reopen as the third lane reopens.

After the third lane is opened, ODOT will perform a safety analysis of the new traffic patterns at the ramp from I-90 eastbound to E. 22nd Street.  ODOT is working with the City of Cleveland to determine if there is safe and sufficient space to merge at that location.  The Ontario Street entrance ramp to I-90 westbound and W. 14th Street entrance ramp to I-90 eastbound will remain closed and the E. 14th Street ramp to I-77 southbound will also close as additional lanes are opened.

ODOT traffic data shows that on a typical day, more than 119,000 vehicles travel along this stretch of I-90; only 10 percent of the average daily traffic (or 11,900 total vehicles) is heavy truck traffic.

In October, ODOT engineers restricted traffic on the Innerbelt Bridge after inspections revealed that a number of steel members on the 50-year-old Innerbelt Bridge were aging faster than expected. Further analysis and testing – combined with consultation from the Federal Highway Administration, the City of Cleveland, and engineers at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Cincinnati – showed that stress and strain was not as significant but still required attention.

This Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan will remain in effect until plans are finalized to repair, reinforce or replace the aging steel structure. While no specific timetable has been determined, those decisions will likely be made during the coming months.

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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