New Funding Available for Cleveland’s Opportunity Corridor

Wed September 16, 2009 - Midwest Edition

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) received authority to invest up to $10 million in additional state transportation funds into the Cleveland Opportunity Corridor, a proposed link between Interstate 490 and University Circle near the city’s downtown Aug. 27.

At the Aug. 27 meeting in Columbus, the state’s Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) unanimously approved the department’s request to invest the additional funding, which is needed to complete preliminary engineering on the proposal.

In 2004, ODOT began a study of the proposed 3 mi. (4.8 km) corridor as an alternative to traffic along Interstate 90. A total of $5.3 million was previously committed by the TRAC for this purpose.

ODOT has continued to advance the planning of the Opportunity Corridor, which encompasses nearly 1,000 acres on Cleveland’s southeast side and is anchored by University Circle and the Cleveland Clinic.

In addition to the transportation benefits, early study has shown that the project has the potential to offer new economic development opportunities in this area between I-490 and University Circle, which has become known as the “Forgotten Triangle.”

ODOT is working in coordination with the City of Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the city’s business community — who recently launched the Opportunity Corridor Steering Committee - to bring together both public and private sector efforts.

The additional $10 million authorized for the Opportunity Corridor will allow ODOT to complete the preliminary engineering and initial environmental study needed to determine whether the project advances to future construction.

Estimates show that construction of Opportunity Corridor could cost at least $300 million.

Established by Ohio Revised Code in 1997, the nine-member TRAC assists ODOT in developing a project selection process for the state’s largest transportation investments. The TRAC, chaired by ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris, also approves major new projects for funding.