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Three Cleveland representatives have been given a seat at the table to help select the team that will design and build the new five-lane Inner Belt Bridge.

The Ohio Department of Transportation recently announced that the city will help evaluate the qualifications and technical proposals by teams interested in building the $450-million span.

The transportation department previously said only its officials would choose the design/build team to maintain security so that competing companies would not take ideas from one another.

But the Cleveland Planning Commission voted unanimously in November to demand a bigger role for the city. The vote was not binding, but commission members voiced concerns over the process. They said a top-notch designer is needed for such a major project that will define Cleveland’s skyline.

A design/build contract requires about 30 percent of the design to be completed when ground is broken and the remainder proceeds as the bridge is built.

When ODOT completed its final bid and project documents in mid-December, it had added the city to the ODOT group that will evaluate proposals and choose three design/build teams in March. Those teams will present detailed bids and the contract will be awarded in September. The bridge is scheduled to open in June, 2014.

Representatives from Cleveland’s planning, engineering/traffic and sustainability departments will join the ODOT group.

ODOT is still considering whether the proposals by the top three finalists for the bridge project could be made public before the contract is awarded.

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Article courtesy of: cleveland.com

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