DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Center Street swing bridge is out of order. It's another bridge closing in the Flats that makes it more difficult to get around.
The history of bridge work in the Flats is a history that documents a comedy of errors that have cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
The Center Street bridge is 115 years old, but got a complete $2.9 million overhaul in 2010. It was the first since 1989, with new mechanicals, electrical, and deck. It was a good project, but even then, with the bridge closed, the city still sent bridge operators there every day. They sat in a cement structure with newspaper over the windows.
The history goes deeper.
During the complete $18.6 million rebuild of the West Third Street bridge in 2006, cables to lift the bridge were ordered the same length as those on the old bridge, but they were to connect four feet lower, so the cables were four feet too short, delaying the opening. The bridge also was too heavy for its supports. It was repainted for a million bucks a couple years later.
And Mayor Frank Jackson isn't the only mayor to have bridge headaches.
Mayor Michael White approved a $1.3 million deck overhaul on the Eagle Avenue Bridge. Mayor Jane Campbell reopened it, but it wasn't safe and had to be closed a year later. That was almost 15 years ago. And $1.3 million in taxpayer money is still up on the bridge hanging in the air, no use to anyone.
Last summer a bearing on the Willow Bridge went bad, limiting both commercial and pleasure boat traffic. A replacement wasn't ordered until it was too late for pleasure boaters. Many fled elsewhere from Olde River Yacht Club.
There is currently limited traffic on the Carter Road Bridge as well.
The star of the show is the Columbus Road Bridge. It was completely replaced a couple of years ago and appears to work just fine. All in all, not a great track record.