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ODOT Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan:
Limited Closure of the Interstate 90 Innerbelt Bridge to Take Place This Weekend
Bridge to Reopen in Time for Sunday’s Cleveland Browns Home Game 

Cleveland (Tuesday, October 20, 2009) In the latest phase of ODOT’s Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan, crews on behalf of the Ohio Department of Transportation will again institute a limited-weekend closure of the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge in order to perform work on the structure.   

Beginning at approximately 8 p.m. on Friday, October 23, crews will close lanes on I-90 east and westbound, I-71 northbound and SR 176 northbound approaching the Innerbelt Bridge.  Beginning at 10 p.m., crews will close Interstate 90 east and westbound over the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge.  The bridge will remain closed until approximately 9 a.m. on Sunday, October 25. Motorists will be detoured via I-490 and I-77.  This closure will not impact the Cleveland Browns’ home game on Sunday, October 25, but will however impact downtown events scheduled for Saturday, October 24 including Quicken Loans Arena’s Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus.  This closure is necessary as crews work to remove portions of the bridge deck and begin minor structural steel removal.

Possible overnight closures of the structure originally scheduled for each night Monday, October 19 through Wednesday, October 21 are no longer necessary as intended work was completed during the previous weekend.

One, additional weekend closure of the structure is anticipated in order to complete work as part of this phase of the Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan.  Details will be forthcoming. 

This phase of ODOT’s Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan is part of the department’s $10 million investment this construction season 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. 

When the entire two-month project is complete, 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.


Jocelynn Clemings 216.584.2006