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ODOT’s Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan to reduce Commuter Congestion and keep Cleveland Commerce flowing

Lanes on I-90 to reopen Wednesday as Heavy Trucks move to New Route through Downtown

Cleveland (Wednesday, November 12, 2008)Following extensive testing, analysis and deliberation by the state’s top bridge engineers, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will implement a three-part Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan to reduce congestion on the heavily traveled Interstate 90 corridor and keep commerce flowing through downtown Cleveland.

For the first part of the Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan, ODOT crews will open one additional lane in each direction on the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge shortly before the morning rush hour on Wednesday, November 19 creating three lanes of through traffic in both eastbound and westbound directions.

On Wednesday, crews will also open the East 9th Street ramp to I-90 westbound. The I-77 northbound ramp to I-90 westbound has already been reopened.

These changes should reduce the congestion that been seen on the Innerbelt Bridge since the lanes were closed for safety reasons October 1. 

For the second part of the Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan, ODOT will be rerouting most truck traffic to a new 2.5 mile route via I-77 and I-490. Crew are now posting nearly 100 signs along the I-90 corridor which alert truck drivers and hauling companies of the weight restrictions for various truck configurations. (See which types of trucks are detoured.)

In addition to reducing weight and congestion on the bridge, this new truck route will allow major commerce to continue flowing along this important economic corridor for Northeast Ohio. (See exactly how many cars or trucks equate to one fully loaded semi truck.)

For the third part of the Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan, ODOT will perform a safety analysis of the new traffic patterns at the ramps from I-90 eastbound to E. 22nd Street and the ramp from E. 14th Street to I-77 southbound.  ODOT is working with the City of Cleveland to determine if there is safe and sufficient space to merge at these locations.  The Ontario Street entrance ramp to I-90 westbound and W. 14th Street entrance ramp to I-90 eastbound will also remain closed.

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 is heavy truck traffic.

Earlier this month, 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