Cleveland Innerbelt Bridge - Ohio's 2 Billion Dollar Boondoggle

Submitted by Ed Hauser on Sun, 01/21/2007 - 17:58.

Ohio Department of Transportation - Cleveland Innerbelt Project Presentation

Cleveland City Planning Commission Meeting - January 19, 2007

Prepared as a Public Service by: Ed Hauser

11125 Lake Avenue #402 - Cleveland, Ohio 44102

Ohio's Citizens and Taxpayers Deserve a Valid Engineering and Economic Impact Study

In November 2005, ODOT stated that its "Preferred Alternative" was the Northern Bridge Alignment. However, ODOT never publicly stated the true cost of this alternative by failing to include the cost to replace the existing Innerbelt Bridge with a new eastbound bridge in 21 years. As a public service, I have done the arithmetic for them. The cost to replace the existing bridge in 21 years was about $1.5 billion, with a total cost of $2 billion for ODOT's "Preferred Alternative." These are the most accurate and only calculations until ODOT's engineers submit their calculations.

Therefore, to restore the public's trust and confidence on how our tax dollars are spent, I request:


FUTURE EASTBOUND BRIDGE = $1,493,400,000 ~or~ $1.5 BILLION (Estimated cost - 21 years)

Calculations Assuming:

Average Inflation Rate = 13.3% (or 0.133) per year (2003-2006)

Average Inflation Rate = 40% over 3 years = 0.40/3 = 0.133 = 13.3% per year

Future Westbound Bridge = $ 393,000,000 (used as a base cost in 2007)

Average Inflation/Year = $ 393,000,000 * 0.133 = $ 52,400,000

Inflation over 21 years = $ 52,400,000 * 21 Years = $ 1,100,400,000 or about $ 1.1 Billion

Future Eastbound Bridge = $ 393,000,000 + [($ 393,000,000 * Inflation Rate) * 21 Years]

= $ 393,000,000 + [($ 52,400,000)* 21 years]

= $ 393,000,000 + $ 1,100,400,000

= $ 1,493,400,000 or about $ 1.5 Billion (Calculated by Ed Hauser)


Future Westbound Bridge + $ 393,000,000 (Most recent estimate)

Existing Eastbound Bridge + $ 122,000,000 (Repair and maintenance estimate over 20 years)

Future Eastbound Bridge + $ 1,493,400,000 (Calculated estimate by Ed Hauser)


GRAND TOTAL $ 2,008,400,000 or $ 2.0 BILLION (Calculated by Ed Hauser)


ODOT Memo, October 13, 2006- Cleveland Innerbelt Issues, no author:

"ODOT and other state DOT's have been rocked by inflation. ODOT prices have increased nearly 40 percent in three years, driving up the cost of the Innerbelt and other projects."

ODOT Memo, October 31, 2006- Existing Central Viaduct Bridge, Tim Keller, Administrator, Structural Engineering:

"The estimated cost of the 20yr. rehabilitation project is $122 M compared to $263 M for the 50 year rehabilitation."

ODOT Email, November 3, 2006- Cleveland Innerbelt-Central Viaduct-CCG3-NEW INFORMTION, Craig Hebebrand:

"…HOWEVER, it is recommended that the replacement of the existing bridge, with a second new bridge, in year 21, be fully considered in ODOT's long range plan. I believe that this compromise satisfies all interests and addresses all concerns."

The Plain Dealer, January 7, 2007- Inner Belt bridge hit with delay, higher cost, by Sarah Hollander:

"The higher price tag - now $393 million instead of October's $334 million - can be partially blamed on inflation caused by the delay… ODOT originally budgeted $297 million for the bridge."

Citizen Hauser... Thank you!

It is your tireless efforts that bring forth this type of important information.  You are a true modern hero, one who selfless acts are for the express good of others!

I tip my virtual hat you good sir.

Be well,

Phillip Williams


Thank you Ed, your persistence pounded Proctor - not into total submission - but definitely into delay.  Your hard work held up the consumation of the blind ODOT rush.  Just like citizens laying down years ago on Massachusetts' Interstate 93 held up - day by day - the building of the Seabrook Nuke.  Each day of delay mattered.  The additonal Nuke units were never built.  Now that a new Ohio administration has Columbus, the questions, and questions, and questions, you asked Hummer, and Proctor, and Hebebrand, may now be responded to with reason and sincerity.   

running low on cash for highway robbery

Northeast Ohio projects

Friday, February 16, 2007

Gov. Ted Strickland says there won't be enough money to pay for all of the road improvement projects the state has committed to in the next several years. A fund managed by the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) will have a deficit of $1.2 billion by 2014 if all of the projects go forward as planned, Strickland said.

Northeast Ohio projects on the TRAC list include:

  • $455 million in work on Cleveland's Inner Belt.
  • $131.1 million for adding lanes and upgrading interchanges on Ohio 2 in Lake County.
  • $114 million for improvements in the area of Interstate 77 and Interstate 490 near downtown Cleveland.
  • $48.2 million for reconstruction of Cleveland's West Shoreway.
  • $43.7 million to add a lane to I-77 from Ohio 82 to Rockside Road.
  • $18.1 million for Cleveland's Euclid Corridor.
  • $12.2 million to upgrade the Interstate 271 interchange at Mayfield Road

Maybe Alsenas’ version of one two-way bridge is a good idea, eh?

Can I get a bike lane?

By the way, I think Woodland Avenue make a wonderful opportunity corridor. Could it be that the muckety mucks from University Circle are afraid to drive on that road? Maybe we could print up some maps to show them how to get to Woodland from 490. The folks in that neighborhood sure could use some opportunities as well.  

I'm sure we could shave the budget for the Innerbelt. Do we really need two bridges? Hopefully Proctor's replacement will be better skilled in arithmetic. And this doesn't count the fact that the Innerbelt Bridge 2 is not scheduled until 2025. We think that money is going to come from where?! Oh that's right... our pockets.

highway robbery rural vs. urban

From today’s PD:

"Included in the review ordered by Strickland could be changes to the criteria used by TRAC to select which projects receive money - a move that could shortchange urban projects.

New ODOT chief Beasley, formerly a rural county engineer, wrote a transition report for Strickland on ODOT that was critical of TRAC and its emphasis on congestion, accident rates and average daily traffic in selecting which projects to pay for.

"This focus disenfranchises rural Ohio and insures that most projects will have an urban setting," Beasley wrote in the report.

Instead, Beasley suggests the criteria should include public benefit versus cost as well as economic impact.

"This would level the playing field for rural areas, economic development projects and projects benefiting other modes of transportation," he wrote.

TRAC member William Gardner, whose day job is service director for Sheffield Lake, said Northeast Ohio projects won't suffer with him and Brecksville Mayor Jerry Hruby on the council.”

Has Beasley read this?

Slanted Pavement: How Ohio's Highway Spending Shortchanges Cities and Suburbs

or Breaking the Heart of It All: How ODOT subverts the NEPA Environmental Review Process and Damages Ohio's Environment and Communities. 

Doesn’t appear he has. Maybe we should forward these report to Strickland. Can’t we concentrate our dollars on forward thinking solutions like high-speed rail along the 1-71 corridor and fixing the obvious mistakes like the access to the International Airport in Cleveland before we pave more paradise and lose more historic buildings to highway projects? More emphasis on rural paving sounds like a crock to me. I would say we need more public transport and fewer roads. Slow down Ohio! My parents said, “Don’t spend what you haven’t got”. We had better determine how to spend what we have got wisely. As you noted regarding this latest snowstorm event, Norm, it is better to live in proximity to your work and commute less.

The era of Sunday drives is a 1950s dream that has turned into a nightmare. I keep seeing that section of the film, The Fog of War, the documentary about Robert McNamara (my father’s arch nemesis) where he talked about his work with Ford Motor Company post WWII and figured out how to get more people into cars – to crank up the notion that every American needs a car.*

Right now, urban Americans need public transport and carsharing! When we have that situation where urban dwellers have reliable public transport and safe streets for biking, the bulk of the gas taxes may well be paid by rural drivers – right now that doesn’t seem to be the actual math. 

*In 1946 Robert McNamara joined Ford Motor Company as manager of planning and financial analysis. He advanced rapidly through a series of top-level management positions to the presidency of Ford on 9 November 1960, one day after John F. Kennedy's election. The first company head selected outside the Ford family, McNamara had gained the favor of Henry Ford II, and had aided in Ford's expansion and success in the postwar period. Less than five weeks after becoming president at Ford, he accepted Kennedy's invitation to join his cabinet, as Secretary of Defense. It was in his role as Secretary of defense that he drove my father to madness -- just saying McNamara would send my Dad's blood pressure through the roof.


We need to speak up to ODOT

Yes, we should forward to Strickland and all ODOT folks links to all the content we have here on REALNEO and NEOBRIDGE about the bridge and trench and we should take a very vocal, proactive role determining how our highways are designed and built in our region. I know Ed already has a foundationf for relations with lots of the people who matter - he should lead a delegation to Columbus. I'd go, and I'm sure Meet the Bloggers would cover it too. Let's plan this for March some time! Who is in?

Disrupt IT

Three opinions on the “World’s Greatest Bridges”....