Cleveland Firefighters Worried About Bridge's Safety

Jan. 13, 2009
Firefighters are worried their fire engines could cause the bridge to collapse if several come together on the Innerbelt.


Cleveland firefighters are raising safety concerns over the Innerbelt bridge, saying they are worried their heavy fire engines could cause the bridge to collapse if several come together on the Innerbelt to handle a big traffic accident.

An Ohio Department of Transportation representative said that the firefighters' concerns will be addressed on Tuesday, but it depends on the weather.

ODOT put a truck ban in effect because engineers said the bridge could not fully support three 40-ton trucks stopped on the Innerbelt at the same time, especially the weakest span, which is over the Cuyahoga River.

Fire trucks can use the bridge for emergencies as long as they stay 250 feet apart, but Cleveland firefighters have been waiting for ODOT to mark the bridge, showing firefighters proper spacing in case of a pileup.

ODOT plans to mark the center wall on the bridge for fire trucks on Tuesday, but more snow and wind could delay that work again.

The consulting firm hired by ODOT now reports that tearing down the Innerbelt bridge and building a new one could take only a year, instead of three, and actually costs millions less than repairing the bridge.

ODOT is still deciding whether to repair or rebuild.

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