Innerbelt Bridge Tackles Big Challenge

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CLEVELAND-- The innerbelt bridge construction project in Cleveland tackled one of its biggest challenges Wednesday.

Construction crews are placing massive steel girders over the Cuyahoga River. "Oh it's moving along. It's a tough job, large pieces of steel," said Joe Isabella.

People walking, jogging or riding their bikes along Abbey Avenue in Cleveland couldn't help but stop and look at the progress the innerbelt bridge is making.

"It's crazy. A lot of progress has been done and they are huge and it will be great once it's finished," said Abbey O'Donnell of Cleveland.

Some people even stopped to take pictures of the massive girders being placed on the huge cement piers.

"Just something I can look back in a few years and see the progress that we are making here in Cleveland, said Jerry Wasick of Cleveland.

The Cuyahoga River was closed off to boat traffic Wednesday so workers could connect the massive steel girders over the water.

"This is a very coordinated process; takes a lot of equipment. We're gonna have two barges and up to three cranes to do this. One of the barges will hold the equipment, the steel and the other barge will have a crane on it and at least one other crane on the shoreline." says Amanda Lee of ODOT.

Some of the massive girders weigh up to 150,000 lbs each; so the river will be closed at least three more times to get the girders in place.

"The crane is going to be sitting on a crane on the river; so it's not like sitting on flat ground. Obviously they'll be a little bit of movement and rocking from the river with the barges; but they are very experienced in what they are doing," said Lee.

ODOT officials say the innerbelt bridge project is running on schedule and the first bridge should be up and running and completed by this fall and the second bridge is set to open in late 2016.

*Click here for continuing coverage of the innerbelt bridge project*