CLEVELAND — Built in 1901, the Center Street swing bridge is an iconic spot in downtown Cleveland, but come January it will be out of commission for nearly a year.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is overseeing the project because it includes federal funding and has a final price tag of roughly $8.4 million.
ODOT originally had the project slated to start in the summer, but with a year-long construction window planned, the project would’ve hit the pause button over the winter.
By pushing the start of the project back to January of 2022, ODOT will be able to work continuously and have all the work completed in about 10 months.
Construction crews will be restoring the driving surface of the bridge as well as refurbishing the sidewalks and adding new lighting.
“The Center Street Bridge is unique because it has a steel grate on it,” said ODOT District 12 public information officer Brent Kovacs. “We’re going be replacing that steel grate on the driving surface. There’s also an area that’s concrete and steel, so we’re replacing that as well. The sidewalk is a concrete and steel mix, so we’re going to be replacing that with fiberglass.”
River traffic will be maintained throughout construction as crews will be working on the bridge in the “open” position. The bridge’s unique shape and anatomy also pose some challenges to construction workers while they complete repairs.
“This bridge’s balance point is off to one side. It makes it a little unique and that’s what kind of makes this project go a little slower paced than a traditional bridge project would,” Kovacs said. “Anytime we take a piece of steel off, we have to counterbalance the opposite side. We take a piece of concrete off; we have to counterbalance it on the other side. There’s a lot of weight calculations that will be going on.”
The bridge will also receive a fresh coat of paint during the overhaul, which is a key reason why the project was pushed back.
“We can’t obviously paint in the middle of winter. So, the project would stand still over winter and then restart in the spring,” Kovacs said. "By starting the demolition in the middle of winter, the weather starts warming up. We can start painting, pouring concrete.”
Construction will begin on Jan. 3 of 2022 and is expected to wrap up in November 2022. The detour for traffic to get around the closure is Main Avenue, to W.25th street to Columbus Road.
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