Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cutting The Ribbon on Cleveland's New Bridge

© Stuart Pearl 2013 - Click on Image to Enlarge for Slideshow

As a photographer I enjoy looking for interesting light when I visit downtown Cleveland. These are the unique shadows and highlights that create special urban compositions. It's a challenge to create something really different that will make people stop and consider the image before them.  I want to show something they haven't seen before.
Sometimes the light is uninspiring.  There's nothing ARTISTIC about the image.  The picture is just a snapshot....a shot of record.  Such pictures can be very important though, freezing an historic moment in time.  That was the case on Nov. 7, 2013 when the ribbon was cut on Cleveland's new Westbound Innerbelt Bridge.  A little bit of history unfolded before my lens and I was able to capture the moment.

Cutting the ribbon from right to left:  Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, former senator, governor and mayor of Cleveland George Voinovich, Janet Voinovich, Craig Hebebrand (prior ODOT Innerbelt Corridor Project Mgr), Myron Pakush, Deputy Director of ODOT, Scott Cooper (hard to see) of Walsh Construction, Tom Hyland of ODOT; Tom Uline of Resource International, Kirk Gegick of ODOT, Jeff Simens of DLZ.  The gentleman with the camera is Randy Morris of DLZ.


Politicians, construction workers, way too many photographers and family members attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.  There was also the caped A- OK Lady, Goodwill Ambassador of Kindness.


I've photographed the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge many times over the years and this shot had some of the most interesting light I've seen. 

Margaret Bourke-White worked in Cleveland as a photographer from 1927-29.  She was one of the greats of the 20th century.  I admire much of her work and her shot from the West bank provided some of my inspiration for the above photo.  You can see her original photograph HERE .

Bridges make great shooting platforms and I was able to capture workers finishing the concrete on the "remodeled" Canal Road in the Flats.

In this shot from the new Ontario St. ramp it almost appears as if Cleveland has another city beneath the metropolis.

Early morning sunlight cuts across both the old and new Innerbelt bridges in this image.  Later this month workers will begin unbolting guardrails, signage and other "easy" components.  Once that is completed they will cut up the roadbed.  Eventually demolitions will be used on portions of the superstructure.

 Sometimes it's just fun to be a little kid and run down an empty ramp in the city.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Topping Off the Bridge

© Stuart Pearl 2013 - Click on Image to Enlarge for Slideshow

Before year's end Cleveland will have a magnificent new bridge spanning the Flats.  This Friday November 8 a ribbon cutting ceremony will mark the opening of the new Ontario Street ramp which will provide access to Tremont.

At nearly a mile in length, this is the Westbound Innerbelt bridge.  Leaving the East bank near Ontario Street it crosses the Cuyahoga and lands near Abbey Avenue not far Sokolowski's University Inn.

Less than two years ago Cleveland Cold storage occupied this space between University and Abbey in Tremont.  Now bridge piers 3 and 4 sit in the "bowl" carved out by excavation equipment.

An onlooker checks the view near pier three in Tremont adjacent to Abbey Road.  Huge concrete blocks are suspended from the end of the curved structural steel to keep the bridge taught while cross braces and other components are added.

On 8/29/13 the last beam of structural steel for the decking was lifted into place near pier two at Abbey Ave.
Ken Fiore was the crane operator that morning hoisting the steel into place.

Signatures of the ironworkers can be seen on the beam.  The traditional fir tree has also been attached.

Above is the structural steel of the roadbed for bridge one as seen from the West bank.  This section was completed several weeks ago as the last of 10,000 cubic yards of concrete was pumped onto the deck. 
Thanks to a guided tour from the Project Team I recently walked the entire span of the bridge from Tremont to Ontario Street, and then back.  On average the span is 110' wide and will accommodate six lanes of traffic - half westbound and the other half east - when it fully opens in less than a month.  The traffic will be shifted to five westbound only lanes when bridge two is completed in 2017.


These huge drainage pipes will remove rainwater and snow from the bridge deck.

Even a crane's ball and hook can provide the canvas for a colorful paint job.