Innerbelt Bridge Project Behind Schedule

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CLEVELAND -- The $292 million bridge project designed to relieve traffic congestion in downtown Cleveland is running behind schedule.  

Construction of the Innerbelt Bridge is running 15 days behind schedule according to an August progress report. The report shows that ODOT's contractor Walsh Construction and HNTB Ohio Inc. fell behind schedule because of the construction of the structural steel.

Now the construction team is going to make up the time by shortening their winter break to complete the project on time, even if this winter is a nasty one.

"Certainly the winter season can be challenging and we are very hopeful that our folks can really get out there and get a jump on it. The Walsh Construction has actually added a second shift hopefully that will get us back on track and everything will be great with the next year," says Jocelynn Clemings of ODOT.

Eventually the new Innerbelt Bridge will replace the old rusty I-90 bridge.

The state has already paid $200 million of the $292 million bridge project. Failure to meet next year's deadline of October 28th 2013 will result in fines of $12,000 a day to the construction team, but ODOT is confident the project will be completed on time.

"Of course there are always issues on a big construction project like this, and we look to our contractor to fix and usually at their expense, so all these things are things that they have taken care of," says Jocelyn Clemings of ODOT.

Some motorists have mixed opinions on the construction delays.

"I think it's inconvenient and it's a mess downtown, there is a lot of disorder already and it just adds to it," says Tangy Leonard of Maple Heights. 

While other motorists believe the delays are not so bad.

"Two and a half weeks is probably not an unreasonable amount of time to be out of schedule in consideration of all the variables the contractor have to deal with when endeavoring such a project," said another driver.

Officials say the bridge project is 60 percent completed and they expect the new bridge to open on schedule next fall.