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Email Says Cleveland's Innerbelt Bridge on Verge of Collapse


SUMMARY: Email rumor claims structural engineers have declared the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge in Cleveland on the verge of collapse and recommends detouring around it.

Description: Email rumor
Circulating since: March 2009
Status: False

Email example contributed by Jocelynn C., March 9, 2009:

I just want to warn people NOT to use the I-90 interbelt bridge as it is on the verge of collapse!

It seems the structural engineers have informed the city that it is a matter of WHEN the bridge collapses not IF the bridge collapses.

A Cleveland Fire Fighter's Captain went to a captain's meeting in which they were informed of the plan for staging vehicles WHEN the bridge falls.

It is easy to detour around this bridge.

Just take 77S to 490W back to 90W (from the east side) and vice versa going in the opposite direction. Follow the signs for the truck detours around the bridge!


Comments: The Ohio Department of Transportation has labeled this rumor a hoax. "Engineers and experts with the Department, the City of Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Cincinnati, the Federal Highway Administration and various consulting groups have each concluded that while several issues require attention, the bridge is safe in its current configuration," said ODOT Public Information Officer Jocelynn Clemings in a press release. "If it were thought that these issues posed a significant threat to the motoring public, the bridge would be closed completely to traffic."

The Innerbelt (or Inner Belt) Bridge serves as the crossing for Interstate 90 over the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland. Though studies have determined that the bridge is, in fact, showing signs of deterioration and commercial truck traffic has been banned since November 2008 due to weight concerns, engineers say the span can safely remain open until repairs are completed (some time in 2010). Rumors to the contrary were evidently sparked by reports that meetings were held to discuss disaster contingency plans.

"While it is true that the City of Cleveland Department of Public Safety, Office of Homeland Security, Grants and Technology as well as ODOT officials have met regularly to discuss the plan in the event of a bridge closure," the ODOT statement continued, "this is certainly not an indication that the bridge is in any way unsafe or in danger of collapse."

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Source and further reading:

ODOT: Email About Innerbelt Bridge Collapse a Hoax
Newsnet5.com, 9 March 2009

ODOT: Hoax Email Being Circulated on Safety of Bridge
WKYC-TV News, 10 March 2009

Ohio Defends Bridge Safety Amid Emails
Fox 28 News, 10 March 2009

Inner Belt Bridge Plan Presented to Cleveland City Council Members
Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12 February 2009

Last updated: 03/10/09

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