The Ohio Dept. of Transportation has scrapped a controversial plan to close the aging I-90 Inner Belt bridge in Cleveland while fast-tracking a replacement bridge. Instead, it will use $200 million in federal stimulus money and a mix of local and federal funds to build a new span while keeping the old one operating. The Inner Belt bridge, built in 1959 and similar in design to the failed I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, is a major safety concern and is rated “poor” on the federal bridge rating system. Its condition led ODOT to ban truck traffic last year. The agency last fall floated a plan to close the bridge for up to two years while fast-tracking a replacement bridge on the same alignment. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (D) called the economic impact of closure unacceptable. In a March 26 announcement, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) said $200 million of the state’s $744 million in stimulus infrastructure funding would be allocated to the five-lane replacement bridge. An ODOT spokesman says the project will be design-build and cost about $400 million. Details on contract award and schedule are being developed.