CLEVELAND (December 20, 2007) While the Ohio
Department of Transportation (ODOT) continues its multi-year planning
to modernize I-90 and the Central Viaduct through Downtown Cleveland,
the states top bridge engineers are proposing a new timeline for the
preservation of the current Innerbelt Bridge, including an expedited
repair project and a major rehabilitation project of the bridge,
totaling more than $142 million.
The Innerbelt Bridge is safe, said ODOT Director James Beasley,
P.E.,P.S. Recent inspections especially those done immediately
after the Minneapolis bridge failure have revealed that this nearly
50-year-old bridge is aging faster than predicted. To ensure full and
reliable use of the Innerbelt Bridge into the foreseeable future, ODOT
is changing the sequence of its Innerbelt Plan to target the needs of
the existing bridge first.
Under original planning, construction of a new bridge would have
begun no sooner than 2011, with the current bridge remaining in
service and without major repair until 2014. Changes in the schedule
for the new bridge lead to the logical decision to advance the planned
rehabilitation of the existing bridge. Otherwise, unplanned repair
projects could result in traffic restrictions and closures, which mean
delays and congestion for motorists.
In partnership with the City of Cleveland and the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA), ODOT has initiated plans for an immediate $2
million repair project and an expedited $140 million preservation
project. The immediate project will include the reinforcement of
several gusset plates along the bridge. Work on this project will
begin in the next several weeks.
Following the repair project, planning will begin immediately on a
$140 million major rehabilitation project to address the bridge deck,
a deficient drainage system and supporting members for the outside
Additional details of the two-year preservation project are still
being determined. Construction is expected to begin in March 2010,
with one side of the bridge being rehabbed in one construction season.
The following year, the remaining half of the bridge would be
rehabbed, completed by the end of the season in November.
Projects of this size and scope normally take several years to
plan and construct, said Director Beasley. Over the next two years,
ODOT will be coordinating with the City of Cleveland and its
transportation partners in Northeast Ohio to plan and prepare, so
motorists know what to expect.
Prior to construction, ODOT will work with the City to designate
alternative routes and to encourage travelers to use the transit
system as a way of reducing anticipated congestion. ODOT continues to
work with its Innerbelt partners on building consensus for the overall
$1.1 billion Innerbelt Modernization Plan.