CLEVELAND - The Ohio Department of Transportation says it will try to cut down on the noise and detour problems as the second Innerbelt bridge project begins this fall.
The project team presented final drawings and discussed changes at a public meeting Tuesday at OLA/St. Joseph Center in Tremont.
The second bridge will eventually carry eastbound traffic and will look identical to the westbound structure now being constructed.
After a year and half of orange barrels and road closed signs, people are trying to practice patience. It will be at least three more to finish the city's lifeline.
ODOT Spokesperson Jocelynn Clemings says crews are a couple of weeks behind right now, but they're not worried about making up the time during summer and fall construction. They'll demolish the existing bridge and build in its place, finishing the entire project by 2016.
That timeline was sped up this summer by a plan to use public private partnership to fund the second bridge, marking the first time ODOT has worked out such a deal.
A single contractor will finish the design, construction and finance the project. Clemings says they've seen great interest from the contracting community, with four companies coming forward during informational meetings last fall. They'll narrow that to three companies and choose from their bids this summer.
Clemings and other project team members outlined new working hours to minimize noise pollution to nearby homes.
During the current project, ODOT allowed the contractor to work around the clock. "We heard from the community...they didn't like that," said Clemings. "So in the second bridge project, we'll make it more of a daytime operation, where they can only work from about 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. so folks during the overnight hours, will not have to hear those loud noisy operations."
The second bridge construction will close the W 14th Street on-ramp, another detour thought deadly to Tremont shops and restaurants.
Bernie Sokolowski, owner of Sokolowski's University Inn says it's been tough for less frequent customers who choose to eat elsewhere to avoid the struggle.
"We depend on these exits, we depend on these small little roads that we travel and take for granted. We need them here for our business," he said.
When finished, each bridge will carry five lanes of traffic, one more than today. Nearly 140,000 drivers cross the bridge every day.
During the meeting, the team also presented plans for landscaping, wall treatments and other aesthetic decisions on both ends of the bridge in Tremont and the Gateway District of downtown.
For more information on the Innerbelt Bridge project, log on to www.Innerbelt.org or dial the Project Hotline at 216.344.0069.