ODOT Announces Aggressive Timeline to Reopen Innerbelt

Sat March 07, 2009 - Midwest Edition
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The Ohio Department of Transportation announced Feb. 11 an aggressive timeline to reopen closed lanes and ramps on the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge in downtown Cleveland.

The announcement is the latest action in ODOT’s Innerbelt Bridge Safety Plan launched last fall. In consultation with local and federal partners, this update includes more than $10 million of structural steel repairs which would reopen the bridge to all traffic.

District 12 Deputy Director Bonita Teeuwen, in an address to the Cleveland City Council Joint Committee, announced that plans are in place to begin work to reopen all lanes and ramps on the Innerbelt Bridge as early as 2009.

“While no specific date has been set as to reopening the lanes and ramps which are currently closed, we are hopeful that structural steel repairs could begin as early as the 2009 construction season,” Teeuwen said.

“While many challenges lie ahead of us, we are working aggressively to meet timelines and will continue to do so as we understand and share in the concerns of local communities.”

The department is still in the process of reviewing multiple complex analyses and developing repair methods on the Innerbelt Bridge.

In October 2008, 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, which includes reduced lanes and restricted heavy truck traffic, 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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