Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cleveland Innerbelt Bridge Project - June 2011

© Stuart Pearl 2011 - Click on Image to Enlarge

Remember this view of Cleveland's Inner Belt Bridge. It will be changing in the next few years. Before the end of the decade it will be gone after 50+ years of service, replaced by two new bridges. This will be the largest transportation project in Ohio history.

Bridges have always fascinated me. As a young boy my brother and I would build them in our backyard, digging roads with our Tonka trucks, and creating rivers and lakes with the garden hose.

My brother Arnold and cousin Alan building cities in the "Dirt Place" in 1960.

When I got older I was finally able to drive on real bridges. From their high vantage points I discovered fascinating details of Cleveland's skyline. And our city has a wonderful variety of bridge structures with architecture going back nearly 150 years.

The first of 14 massive bridge piers are now being built across the Flats valley which will support the new twin Inner Belt bridges. Steel piles are being driven about 200 feet down to bedrock to provide anchor points for each of the piers. Each steel pile is 55 feet in length and weighs about 12,000 pounds.

Concrete and rebar base of brige pier.

Worker in "pier pit."

Construction is now focused on the Westbound bridge which should be completed in 2013-14. It is being built just north of the existing bridge.

The old Cleveland Cold Storage building sits on the west bank of the Cuyahoga and is an early casualty of the construction. It sits directly in the path of the Tremont landing spot for the bridge. Built in 1927-1928 it was a huge insulated storage facility that was used for food distribution throughout the city. It played a major role in Cleveland's food services industry.

The present bridge carries about 119,000 cars each day. Sometimes a lone cyclist will brave the narrow metal sidewalk . When this man rode by, there was barely room for me to squeeze up against the railing while staring at the Cuyahoga river 273 feet below. I really don't like heights.

Storm coming up from the South of the Innerbelt and Hope Memorial bridges.


jt said...

I knew you in Junior High. I really enjoy your pictures, and the commentary that accompanies them.

Jim Tolar

Ruth said...

Great shots and interesting narrative.

jtmccros said...

Your pix always show such an interesting perspective. I love the new ones, but also the one of you and your brother in 1960!

the_ebullient_one said...

Stuart, really appreciate seeing the changes you are documenting in Cleveland and love anything with construction work. Look forward to more photos in the future. Hope to see you in my next trip back to Ohio.
Jim Conroy

judy nieser said...

Stu, Fascinating! Your Cleveland photos always hit me with nostalgia and a desire to 'Get Downtown' which I rarely get to do these days. Thank You, Judy Nieser