CLEVELAND - One year after the old Innerbelt Bridge came crashing to the ground during demolition, piers to support the second bridge span that will replace it are rising up. The span, which will carry eastbound traffic on Interstate 90, is halfway complete, according to ODOT officials.
Foundation work under the bridge support piers, including steel pilings 200 feet deep, is complete, and the piers themselves are going up quickly, said ODOT spokesperson Jocelynn Clemings. Steel is being placed on top of the piers, and parts of the bridge floor are in place at the foot of the bridge.
"The total bridge replacement is a very large project, the largest bridge replacement in ODOT's history," Clemings said.
The $566 million project, now entering its 5th year, has meant traffic tie-ups and detours on nearly all highways surrounding downtown Cleveland and many secondary roadways. Currently, the westbound span, completed in 2013, is carrying 140,000 drivers in both directions daily.
The project employs 200 on-site laborers each day, with 300 additional people affiliated with the project in other ways, according to Clemings.
"What a difference a year makes. We've made so much progress in that time. We think it's just tremendous and want everyone to see that as well," she said.
The new bridge replaces the Innerbelt Bridge, built in 1959, which ODOT said had met its useful life and did not meet the demands of modern travel. The new bridge will carry an additional lane of traffic in each direction, totaling 5, and will have full shoulders for vehicles to pull off the roadway during incidents, Clemings said.
It will also feature changeable LED lighting, similar to the Terminal Tower building. Construction of the new George V. Voinovich Bridge is expected to be completed by Fall 2016.
Tours of the project are available to the public twice per month, with information available on the project's web site.