May 6, 2009

Cleveland bridge to be moved 4 inches

Construction workers in Cleveland face a Herculean task -- moving the 70-million-ton Inner Belt Bridge 4 inches to the west, officials say.

The west end of the span, which carries Interstate 90 over the Cuyahoga River, will be raised off its piers, set on greased plates and then jacked the inches necessary to get it realigned properly, The Plain Dealer reported Wednesday. Once in place, the bridge will be re-bolted to the piers.

The project is to start Friday night and take several days to complete. Most of the work is to be done at night so traffic interruptions should be minimized, officials say.

Basically we are going to pick it up and open it up, said Tom Hyland, a Ohio Transportation Department construction engineer.

The project is being undertaken for safety reasons, Hyland said. Relocating the bridge will help an expansion joint to work as designed. The joint is closed so tightly now that summer heat could cause it to jam or shut, putting more stress on the span.

Ultimately, the bridge needs major repairs and likely replacement, the Cleveland newspaper said.