By: Catrina Leone; Intern
The beginning of one thing always means the end of another. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place last Friday on the newly constructed Innerbelt Bridge, and the structure was dedicated in honor of Senator George V. Voinovich. Before the event took place, pedestrians were permitted to walk across the bridge. ODOT mentioned that because of the inclement weather earlier that week, the new bridge was officially set to open to downtown ramp traffic this past Monday.
The current innerbelt bridge was closed last Friday at 8:00pm and re-opened this past Monday, November 11th at 6:00am. The bridge will be demolished this fall to make room for another new bridge, expected to start operation in the fall of 2016. During the time of the weekend restrictions, drivers may use I-490 and I-77 as a detour. Those who already currently use I-77 or enter downtown from the East side will not be impacted by these changes.
This project began in 2011 and took a little over two years to complete. At more than 43,000 feet long and about 115 feet high, it is part of the largest transportation improvement in the state’s history with the new span carrying an estimated 138,000 commuters daily. The work is only half complete with work on the new span will soon begin, impacting traffic to and from Tremont and its businesses for three years. Demolition of the old bridge is scheduled for this winter with work on the new span slated for the following spring.
“Folks in the city of Cleveland have been great dealing with all the traffic changes that have been put in place, but certainly the end is near and this is a visible sign that things are happening, the project is wrapping up”, said ODOT’s Jocelynn Clemings. The new bridge is replacing the old one, which opened in 1959. The new bridge is built to last for 75 years.
With all these changes coming our way, make sure to drive safely, especially with winter around the corner! TV20 was there to cover this ribbon cutting event, and the story will air the week of November 25th. Stay tuned to Tv20 for on-going information about this story, along with many others!