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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – The Ohio Department of Transportation has agreed to help the City of Cleveland with its proposed land bridge project.

After reviewing the proposal, ODOT’s Office of Jobs and Commerce committed to awarding the city $2.5 million for planning and engineering work that’s needed for the project.

Cleveland Browns owners, Jimmy and Dee Haslam have been working with the city of Cleveland for over two years on a plan to enhance the area around FirstEnergy Stadium.

One of the biggest plans in the proposal would be a land bridge that would run from the roof of the Huntington Convention Center, all the way to Lake Erie.

The city’s mayor’s office and Haslam Sports Group released the following statement regarding ODOT’s decision:

“We appreciate the time ODOT has taken to review the City’s TRAC application for the lakefront vision. We have had productive conversations with ODOT and understand their funding recommendation today based on the preliminary stage of this project.  ODOT has made it clear that they are supportive of the Mayor’s vision and the feasibility work proposed as next steps for this endeavor that would help drive economic development for our city and the region. We continue to receive strong community support for the vision and will work with ODOT on potential alternative funding sources to match the City’s commitment to explore how best to properly and safely connect pedestrians and cyclists to our region’s greatest natural resource, Lake Erie.”

“The awarded $2.5 million from ODOT coupled with the city’s matching funds will provide a significant $5 million to advance the planning and engineering work needed for the land bridge project. Now that funds have been committed, a scope for this initial phase of work will be finalized, after which the procurement and project agreement process will commence in conjunction with ODOT.  We look forward to continuing to collaborate with ODOT and other stakeholders to move this important project forward.”

The City of Cleveland has applied for federal funding which would allow the city to conduct studies and assessments and get public input on the proposed plans. The finalists for that funding will be announced in August.