Why does this need to be done?
This ramp reconfiguration is part of the overall multi-billion dollar Innerbelt Modernization Plan. This plan will update the freeway from its outdated 1950’s design to meet current, modern design standards. These modern standards provide significantly longer entrance ramps to allow traffic to better ease onto the mainline freeway. Current design practices also eliminate “weave” areas where vehicles are crossing paths on the same section of pavement. In order to design these improved ramps, it was necessary to reconfigure the current entrance ramps to I-77. These overall improvements are expected to dramatically improve motorist safety along with reduce daily congestion. They also provide brand new pavement and bridges that replace 50+ year old infrastructure.
Additionally, the ramp reconfiguration allows for the reconstruction of both the East 9th and Ontario Street exit ramps from I-90 east into downtown. The ramps will be reconstructed to include flatter curves - thus improving safety and flow. The new exit ramps will replace the "hairpin" turns many motorists experienced when exiting at these ramps - particularly at Ontario Street. Click here for a before and after image.
In addition to reconstructed off-ramps, the removal of the two I-77 entrance ramps allows for construction of a NEW off-ramp. A new exit ramp will be created giving I-90 east motorists access to southbound East 9th Street and the new East 9th Street Extension. This will provide direct access into the Flats from I-90. Click here for an image.
The ramp removal also allows for increased greenspace and two, new "portals" into downtown, which will provide a more welcoming entrance into the city.
From a maintenance standpoint, the ramp removal means removing three (3) overpass bridges - eliminating dollars spent in annual maintenance, inspection and repairs.
Are there other ways to access areas south of the City?
For motorists travelling south of I-480, another option is to take I-90 west to SR 176 south (Jennings Freeway). Motorists have told us that this alternative route is an excellent alternative to I-77 south out of downtown Cleveland.
What will the reconfigured area look like?
Since 2012 ODOT has met with important downtown/Gateway stakeholders regarding the look and feel of this area. A public meeting was held in 2013 and the plans were later approved by the city of Cleveland Planning Commission. The area within the new loop ramps at East 9th and Ontario Streets will include new landscaping, trees and terraces which will be a more welcoming entrance into the city. New entrance walls and pylons will define these spaces as uniquely Cleveland.
What about bikes and pedestrians?
A new multi-use path will be constructed along the west side of Ontario Street/Orange Avenue which will connect to the new East 9th Street Extension into the Flats and to East 14th Street. Upgraded sidewalks will be constructed along the east side of Orange Avenue and East 9th Street.
About how many people used the ramps?
During peak (rush) hours, an average of 1,492 vehicles use the East 9th Street ramp to I-77 south and about 747 vehicles use the Ontario Street ramp to I-77 south.