Opportunity Corridor construction project specs altered, delaying reopening of I-490 until next fall

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced today, Monday, Nov. 23, that the opening of I-490 between I-77 and E. 55th Street as part of the Opportunity Corridor Boulevard project has been delayed by six months—until November 1, 2021—because of needed implantation of additional work and safety measures.

Following a review of the design plans, ODOT requested a change to the grade, or slope. where I-490/Opportunity Boulevard passes under E. 55th Street for safety reasons. The design-build team’s plans met the minimum standards; however, ODOT preferred a more gradual slope.

This change added approximately six months of work and $4.6 million to the project. Additionally, unforeseen utility relocation delays have had an impact on the project schedule. The design and construction changes, and utility delays will not impact the overall completion of project in summer 2022.

Originally, I-490 was set to open in late-May 2021—when I-490 traffic would have only had access to E. 55th Street via the new quadrant roadway, as the entire boulevard was not scheduled to be substantially open until early-November 2021. Concerns for pedestrian safety and traffic congestion along E. 55th Street also led the ODOT to delay the original opening of I-490 to the new Opportunity Corridor Boulevard.

The revised opening date for I-490 at E. 55th St. will now coincide with the substantial opening of the new boulevard between E. 55th St. and E. 93rd St. on November 1, 2021.

Kokosing Construction Company was awarded the design-build contract on the third and final section of the Opportunity Corridor with a bid amount of $150,858,250.

The third and final phase of the Opportunity Corridor project will connect I-490/I-77 to E. 93rd Street, where the second segment left off. Construction highlights include two new pedestrian bridges, three new bridges located along the boulevard, one new bridge over the boulevard, one railroad bridge over the boulevard, six signalized intersections, new water mains, new major sanitary and storm sewers, along with tree lawns, sidewalks and a shared-use path.

With the modified closure at I-490 and E. 55th Street, a new project to make necessary repairs to the driving surface of the I-490 bridge over the Cuyahoga River Valley, between W. 7th Street and Broadway Avenue, has been fast tracked. According to ODOT, by completing this work in 2021 while I-490 is still closed, traffic impacts will be reduced and there will be safety improvements for motorists and construction workers.

Officials working on the Opportunity Corridor project says it will provide a connector between I-490, University Circle, and the Cleveland Clinic, as well as spur economic growth in the neighborhood.