Cleveland — The I-90 Innerbelt Bridge opened to traffic on August 15, 1959, and on July 12, 2014, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Trumbull-Great Lakes-Ruhlin (TGR) and thousands of Clevelanders said their final good-byes to the bridge as it disappeared into the Cuyahoga River Valley. Controlled explosive demolition of the steel skeleton of the 1959 Innerbelt Bridge took place shortly after 6 a.m., dropping five of the nine steel spans of the old bridge.
Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) of Phoenix, Md. (acting as Implosion Subcontractor to Main Demolition Contractor, Joseph B. Fay Company of Tarentum, Pa.) performed the successful explosives felling of the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge. The explosives sequence required the precision felling of the spans, which passed adjacent to a mainline Norfolk Southern Railroad trestle, above a CSX railroad spur and two active city streets (with live underground gas, electric and fiber optics cables), and within 11 feet of third-party properties to remain.
Demolition began in January 2014 and has been a sequenced activity much like construction, only in reverse. The bridge railings, lights, barriers and concrete driving surface were all removed using traditional methods as well as specific steel spans over the river and railroads. Concrete piers and one additional steel span will be demolished this summer using traditional methods. Demolition is expected to be complete by the end of August.
When the bridge opened in 1959 it was the widest bridge in Ohio, carrying four lanes in each direction. The bridge carried interstate traffic in both directions and was a classic steel “Pratt Deck Truss” with a cast-in-place concrete deck and steel parapets. It stood 128 feet tall, 116 feet wide and was 5,078 feet long.
ODOT is in the midst of replacing the 1959 bridge with two new structures – one to carry traffic in each direction. The pair have been named in honor of statesman George V. Voinovich. The first of the pair is now open and temporarily carrying traffic in both directions until completion of the second new bridge in late 2016.
For more information on this project and others along the Innerbelt Corridor, visit www.Innerbelt.org.