CLEVELAND-- Big news for thousands of drivers who travel through downtown Cleveland. After more than five years, the Innerbelt Bridge project is almost complete.
"It's about time," said one driver.
That is a statement echoed by about 140,000 drivers who travel on the Innerbelt Bridge on I-90 across the Cuyahoga River into downtown every day.
Two lanes of the newly-built eastbound span of what's officially named the George V. Voinovich Bridge are expected to open on Monday.
On Wednesday, ODOT tweeted a picture of crews hanging highway signs, signaling the bridge is almost ready.
"It's a jewel for Cleveland actually. It's a beautiful bridge," said another man.
The new westbound bridge opened about three years ago. Since then, all traffic has used that side, while the second bridge was built. Both spans were constructed to replace a decaying bridge originally built in 1959.
Even though two of the eastbound lanes on the bridge will be open on Monday, it will still be several weeks before some of the on and off ramps can be used.
For years, people who live and own businesses in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood have been without the West 14th entrance ramp leading downtown.
"It's a little bit more of a hassle because like I said, I have to go 490 to 77 just to go right to Progressive Field or something," said Tremont resident Brian Pierce, who also owns a business.
ODOT said by the end of October, each bridge will carry five lanes of traffic in both directions and all ramps will be open.
"I think it's fabulous. I mean, it's great for my business, it gives me access to, you know, going east… This way I can be there in two minutes," Pierce said.
To prepare for the opening, the Voinovich Bridge will be shut down in both directions from 7:30 p.m. Friday until 11 a.m. Sunday.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, there will be an opening ceremony on top of the bridge. The ceremony is open to the public.