Innerbelt Bridge Project Faces Major Delays

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CLEVELAND—The Innerbelt bridge project is facing major delays!

Today, ODOT announced plans to build a second bridge may be postponed due to a lack of state funding.

The rusting, ailing Innerbelt Bridge is three years past its recommended lifespan.

Now, plans to construct a second bridge may be delayed up to 11 years.

"I have questions on it when I drive across," said driver Ron Shepherd.

ODOT said the state funding to build the second bridge is not there, meaning drivers could face more traffic tie-ups along one of Cleveland's major arteries leading to downtown.

"It will hurt the developments here in this area here, the small business," said Shepherd.

"Unfortunately, this is Ohio's new reality. For far too long, previous administrations have added more and more to the list of TRAC projects knowing that there were more projects than funds available," said ODOT director and TRAC chairman Jerry Wray. "Their poor planning has put us in the position of making the tough decisions and delivering the bad news to many communities throughout the state that there simply is not enough money to fund their projects."

Under the current plans, there are two bridges being built.

Bridge 1 is already under construction, but it is not being used.

According to ODOT, the demolition for Bridge 2, which is being used, might be pushed back to 2018.

Construction to build the second bridge may start as late as 2023.

"Whenever there's a delay, there's always a cost increase and there's always a possibility this will never happen," said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

Mayor Jackson said he's concerned with the safety and integrity of the bridge, especially with the additional traffic expected over the next few years.

"The casino alone is projecting 15,000 per day, so if you have a bridge with fewer lanes and more demand with the use of the Innerbelt it would seem they need to move ahead," said Jackson

ODOT said all the funding for these projects comes from the state and federal motor fuel tax.

Currently, ODOT has $2 billion worth of projects in the works, but they say only $100 million in funding is available for this year.