CLEVELAND, Ohio — Major financial setbacks have stalled progress but now the Innerbelt Bridge project is a few years closer to reality.
On Wednesday, an ODOT advisory committee (TRAC) met in Columbus to discuss funding for several key state construction projects.
According to the latest plan, construction on the second Innerbelt Bridge will begin in 2016 and will take about three years to complete.
Back in January, the bridge project was pushed back to 2023, which meant the first new bridge would handle traffic in both directions for a much longer period of time.
ODOT says the current bridge, which is three years past its recommended lifespan, is set to be demolished next year.
“At this point, you wonder how safe that bridge actually is,” said one driver.
Earlier this year, ODOT shocked city leaders after a $1.6 billion shortfall was announced. Wednesday, ODOT announced a $400 million savings over the next five years.
Tremont business owners and residents say the constant detours are detrimental to the community.
“We have historically been impacted by highway construction more than any other neighborhood in Cleveland. Every major freeway impacts this neighborhood,” said Cory Riordan, Executive Director of the Tremont West Development Corporation.
Over the past few months, Riordan has led the charge to get the Innerbelt project back on track.
“We sent over 1,000 petitions saying we wanted ODOT to finish the job on time in 2016. We hung signs, there were many press conferences, local leadership got on board, Councilman Cimperman and the Mayor’s Office.”
ODOT says Wednesday’s vote may be superseded in the future. For now, drivers are relieved to know the deadline is closer than previously thought.
According to one local motorist, “Every day they take to fix it is another day that they’re closer to something happening.”