ODOT Innerbelt Plan Public Meeting

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 11/15/2005 - 15:14.
11/17/2005 - 16:30

Friends of Northeast Ohio, a day for a new bridge to our future is arriving Thursday, November 17th, when the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will present their plan to supplement the current I-90 Innerbelt bridge over the Cuyahoga River by building a second bridge immediately to the north of the current span. If you care about the form, flow and future of our community, you must care about this near $ billion project. The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, area newspapers and universities, and broad community leaders all agree this project offers a great opportunity to reshape Cleveland forever. There is broad agreement we should replace the current I-90 bridge with a world-class span. In doing so, we may relocate the bridge south to allow further development around our $500 million gateway district, and create an astounding gateway entrance to our city. To help further such enlightened outcomes, realneo.us has provided a social networking site to this community, found at http://neobridge.net - thanks to Cleveland Institute of Art Future Center Director David Moss for site design support. Please join your community at NEO Bridge to interact on this issue. And, most important, please join your community at the Wolstein Center this Thursday, November 17th, at 4:30 pm for a public forum with ODOT...

From the excellent Cuyahoga County Planning Commission site, about this event:

The people of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and all of Northeast Ohio
have been presented with an opportunity. It is an opportunity which
comes around once in many generations and which can have a dramatic
effect on the future of this place which we call home. That opportunity
has been placed before us as a consequence of the need to replace
and/or rehabilitate the Innerbelt between MetroHealth Hospital and Dead
Man's Curve, including the Innerbelt Bridge which carries I-71/I-90
traffic over the Cuyahoga River Valley.

Current Cuyahoga County Freeway System

Bridge area highlighted in yellow

During
the past three years, the Ohio Department of Transportation and their
consultants have been receiving public input and evaluating alternative
methods to carry traffic over the Valley. The choices are to use the
existing Innerbelt Bridge, construct new bridge(s) in the same location
as the existing bridge, or on new alignments to the north or south of
the existing bridge

On November 17, 2005, ODOT will hold
public meetings at which the ODOT District 12 Office will recommend a
two-bridge plan as the preferred alternative. ODOT is poised to employ
engineering consultants to begin to implement the two-bridge plan. For
a further explanation of ODOT's plan, please visit the Innerbelt Project website.

Existing Innerbelt Bridge

However,
there may be other ways to cross the Cuyahoga River Valley than ODOT's
plan. About two years ago, the County Planning Commission staff
suggested another concept for not only crossing the Valley, but at the
same time, reconfiguring the grossly inadequate collection of ramps
which connect I-71 and I-77 and also provide access to downtown streets
in the area between Jacobs Field, the Cuyahoga County Community College
Campus, and the Central Post Office area south of the existing I-71
embankment. The County Planning Commission concept incorporates these
elements:

  1. Replace the aging and unlovely existing
    steel truss Innerbelt Bridge designed and built in the 1950s with a new
    structure that embodies the world's state of the art bridge designs and
    technologies.

    Throughout the United States and the world, there is a new golden age of bridge building. Wired magazine recently described this "new golden age."

    Today,
    an explosion of new designs and materials is creating a third golden
    age of bridge building. Cable-stays transfer the load on the roadway to
    towers via radiating wires. Electromagnetic dampers and giant
    underwater shock absorbers resist the kinetic energy of wind, quakes,
    and collisions. Sensors - fiber-optic cables, digital cameras, and
    accelerometers - let engineers know how bridges are holding up in real
    time. And higher-performing steel, concrete, and carbon
    fiber-reinforced polymers are making spans lighter, stronger, longer,
    and taller.
    Wired, January 2005

    We
    also live in a new golden age of bridge aesthetics. Bridges are now
    designed as "structural art" and our Innerbelt Bridge should be such a
    world class design.

  2. Relocate the Bridge and ramps to better serve downtown Cleveland of the 21st century.

    We
    have proposed the concept of a new bridge alignment which begins at the
    current bridge location on the Tremont side of the Valley and gently
    curves south of the existing bridge, landing considerably further south
    of Jacobs Field than at present. We have also proposed lowering the
    elevation of a new bridge on the downtown side of the Valley, thereby
    aligning the Interstate highway with the elevation of the Innerbelt
    Trench.

    These vertical and horizontal alignment changes would
    have multiples benefits: creates an opportunity to eliminate the high
    Innerbelt embankment which both projects traffic noise and separates
    Jacobs Field from the large expanses south of the Gateway area; creates
    new redevelopment opportunities; and allows for an efficient and
    aesthetic new ramp network for access to and from downtown.

ODOT proposal

Existing bridge in red. Second bridge in yellow.
New bridge concept

Existing bridge in red. Replacement bridge in solid blue.

We believe all of these possibilities can be realized without any negative impacts on Tremont or other areas.

We
believe that ODOT should take whatever time is necessary to present to
the public designs which address the deficiencies of the current
Innerbelt system, while seizing the opportunity to provide design
alternatives which embody world class standards of bridge and highway
design.

We believe that the alternative we have presented can
be accomplished within the ODOT Innerbelt budget, and in some respects,
may be less expensive in the long run.

We believe that ODOT
has the obligation and responsibility to fully analyze this and other
proposals which have been submitted to it. ODOT has the resources and
is required by policy and regulations to perform these analyses.

Please let us and your public officials know what you believe.

Location

Wolstein Center, 2000 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115