Since the early 2000s, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has been working to bring the Cleveland Innerbelt Modernization Plan to fruition. This investment will rehabilitate and reconstruct five miles of interstate roadways and address operational, design, safety, and access shortcomings that severely impact the ability of the Innerbelt Freeway system to meet the transportation needs of northeast Ohio. To date, approximately $625 million of work has been completed or is currently underway. Approximately one billion dollars remains unfunded to complete the remaining phases of work.
The priority was replacing the 1959 Central Viaduct (I-90 Innerbelt Bridge) with two new bridges to improve safety and increase capacity. Construction of the westbound bridge was completed in 2013, followed by demolishing the existing bridge and opening the eastbound bridge in 2016. Visitors to downtown Cleveland are greeted with tiered landscaping, artist murals, and have access to the newly built Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Both projects utilized FHWA’s INVEST program and achieved gold and platinum level ratings for their sustainability efforts.
The next phase made improvements along I-77 south of downtown by reconstructing Broadway Ave. over I-77, eliminating a tricky merging condition, and widening I-77 over I-490 to six lanes.
In 2020, traffic flow improvements will be made on I-71 for motorists leaving downtown Cleveland.
These projects are showing safety improvements, however, there is still much to be done to achieve the plan’s goal.
Remaining safety improvements include realigning I-90 through the Innerbelt Curve to reduce the severity of the curve and consolidate ramps between Carnegie Ave. and Superior Ave. to minimize conflicts between vehicles entering and exiting the highway. The project also includes the pavement and bridges along I-77 and I-90 that were built in the 1950s. You can learn more about these projects at www.Innerbelt.org.