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Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan:
Innerbelt Bridge Eastbound Only to Close Overnight Friday through Saturday Evening 

Cleveland (Wednesday, November 18, 2009) – As crews work aggressively to maintain the late November reopening of all lanes and ramps on the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge, the Ohio Department of Transportation will institute the closure of I-90 eastbound only overnight Friday into Saturday evening.

Beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday, November 20 crews will close the eastbound lanes of I-90 over the Innerbelt Bridge in order to perform striping, fencing and barrier wall removal operations.  The eastbound lanes will remain closed until 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 21.  Motorists may detour via I-490 eastbound to I-77 northbound.  The westbound lanes will remain open for use.

This phase of ODOT’s Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan is part of the department’s $10 million investment on the Innerbelt Bridge.  Repairs will allow for the reopening of the W. 14th Street ramp to I-90 eastbound – which has been closed since May of 2008 – and the Ontario Street ramp to I-90 westbound as early as late November.

At least one, additional weekend closure of the structure is anticipated in order to complete work as part of this phase of the Safety Plan, however that closure will take place following late November/early December after all ramps and closed lanes have reopened.  Minor steel repairs will continue through the winter of 2009.  Impacts to traffic are not expected as minor steel repairs take place.  Details will be forthcoming.

After late November, I-90 westbound traffic will be returned to its original configuration – including heavy truck traffic – and motorists will again have use of the Ontario Street ramp to I-90 westbound. Interstate 90 eastbound traffic will reopen to three, through lanes of traffic and one, dedicated lane for those motorists entering I-90 from W. 14th Street.  The right lane of I-90 as it merges onto the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge at the I-71/I-490 split will remain closed and heavy truck traffic will remain detoured from the bridge in the eastbound direction in order to accommodate W. 14th Street ramp traffic and reduced lane widths.

Reopening the ramps will improve connectivity to the Tremont and Gateway neighborhoods, which have had limited access to I-90 since ODOT restricted traffic on the aging structure in October 2008.

This phase of work was made possible only after extensive, detailed analysis of the steel members and connections of the main structure. In coordination with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), ODOT engineers found that the construction of a segment to widen the W. 14th Street on-ramp in the early 1980’s added considerable additional weight and stress to the existing truss.  After careful consideration of the analysis, the project team agreed that the best way to ensure safety of motorists on the bridge – while optimizing the traffic-carrying capacity of the structure – would be to remove the 300,000 pound widened segment of the W. 14th Street ramp.

The Innerbelt Bridge is a vital link into downtown Cleveland.  In October 2008, ODOT engineers restricted traffic on the 50-year-old bridge after inspections revealed that a number of steel members were aging faster than expected.  In March 2009 ODOT announced plans to construct a new westbound Innerbelt Bridge, utilizing federal transportation stimulus funds made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Construction of the new westbound bridge is expected to being in 2011.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT THE ODOT DISTRICT 12 PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE:
Jocelynn Clemings 216.584.2006