07/03/10 | Karen Farkas, The Plain Dealer
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Creating bike/pedestrian lanes on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge would be safer and more cost-effective than adding a multipurpose lane to the new Inner Belt Bridge, Gov. Ted Strickland and Cleveland officials said.
It is the wrong question, said Brad Chase, program manager of the GreenCityBlueLake Institute, the sustainability center of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He supports a bike lane on the Inner Belt Bridge, and he met with ODOT officials last month to talk about whether it was feasible.
"They were saying 'How don't we do this' instead of focusing on how to come to a solution," he said.Chase and other advocates of adding a lane to the bridge had asked ODOT to let the three teams competing to build the new bridge include an proposal for a multipurpose lane.
"The three design/build teams have all built pedestrian/bike lanes on other bridges," Chase said. "Let them come back and say you need spiral ramps and it costs $25 million to build and it will not work. Then ODOT could come out the winner. ODOT is not allowing the process to play out."The teams will submit technical and price proposals for the new bridge on August 5 and ODOT plans to award the contract in September. Construction will begin next year and the span will open in 2014.
Chase and other supporters said they don't trust ODOT's rationale and will continue to lobby local and federal officials because they feel a multipurpose lane could be added to the project even after the contract is awarded. ODOT officials have maintained since 2006 that there was no purpose or need for a bike lane, citing factors including cost and safety.