Interstate 490 Ohio

Routing

Interstate 490 in Ohio connects Interstates 90 (Northwest Freeway) and 71 (Medina Freeway) with Interstate 77 (Willow Freeway) between the Tremont and North Broadway neighborhoods in central Cleveland. The urban freeway represents a short portion of the original Clark Freeway proposed east from the Innerbelt (I-90) to the Outer Belt East Freeway (Interstate 271) at Beachwood and Pepper Pike.

The Innerbelt Project along Interstate 90 included work to rebuild the I-71 overpasses at the four level interchange with I-490 and several changes to ramps at the north end I-77 at Downtown. Ramps from I-90 east to I-77 south and from I-77 north to I-90 west were closed by April 11, 2011, with Interstate 490 designated as the new connection for those movements.1

History

The Interstate 490 connector was first envisioned as part of an urban loop taking Interstate 80S from the Parma Freeway (planned I-90) east along the Clark Freeway to the Bedford Freeway across central Cleveland. I-290 was proposed to extend the Clark Freeway east from the Bedford Freeway at the Kinsman neighborhood to the Outer Belt East Freeway at Beachwood, where it would overlap with I-271 north to I-90 in Lake County. Increasing community opposition throughout the 1960s led to several freeway cancellations, including all of the Clark Freeway east from North Broadway.

The following map shows the planned Interstate 290 freeway as seen in the Ohio Official State Map from 1969 (Cleveland inset):

The redesignation of Interstate 290 to 490 was approved by AASHTO on November 10, 1973. The change redefined the eastern terminus from I-271 and Shaker Heights to Interstate 480 at Maple Heights. The southeastern route to Maple Heights (Bedford Freeway) from East 55th Street was never built, with the exception of the trumpet interchange and access road between I-480 and Broadway Avenue at Exit 23.

Opportunity Corridor

The Cleveland Innerbelt study conducted by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) starting in fall 2000 included two alternatives involving new construction between Interstate 490 and the University Circle neighborhood in northeast Cleveland. One concept extended the freeway along railroad right of way northeast to Interstate 90 at East 133rd Street and the Forest Hills neighborhood. The second alternative outlined an at-grade boulevard between I-490 and East 105th Street along the same railroad corridor.

The freeway plan included interchanges at East 55th Street, Kinsman Road, Woodland Avenue, Stokes Boulevard, Euclid Avenue, Superior Avenue, St. Clair Avenue and East 133rd Street. The alternative was estimated to cost $1.5 billion and displace 165 residences. Community opposition from East Side neighborhoods ranged from activists, residents, Council President Frank Jackson and Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell.

The boulevard concept would range from four to six lanes separated by a median with signalized intersections. Only 25 residences would be displaced. Costs were estimated at $160 million, with ten years of construction potentially starting by 2007.2 The boulevard was rebranded and incorporated into the Opportunity Corridor Study conducted in 2004 by a consultant team. The Opportunity Corridor Steering Committee was subsequently formed comprising ODOT, the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and several other groups, residents and business owners. The committee identified a Recommended Preferred Alternative in July 2011.3

Now incorporated in the Opportunity Corridor Project, a $331 million public-private partnership with the goal of redeveloping more than 300 acres of underutilized land and brown fields, the new road would comprise a divided 35 MPH boulevard with traffic lights and new pedestrian and bicycle paths. Project details were presented at an October 2013 Public Hearing. FHWA approved the Environmental Impact Statement for the corridor and issued a Record of Decision on May 1, 2014.3

The Opportunity Corridor will extend east three miles from East 55th Street to University Circle and East 105th Street. Construction is divided into three sections:

  • Section 1 - Upgrades to East 105th Street from Quebec Avenue to north of U.S. 322 (Chester Avenue). Construction started in winter 2015.
  • Section 2 - New roadway from East 93rd Street to Quebec Avenue. Construction started in spring 2016.
  • Section 3 - New roadway from Interstate 490 and East 55th Street to East 93rd Street. Construction to begin in 2017.

See detailed schematics of the Preferred Alternative on the ODOT web site.

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - Interstate 71 and Interstate 90 - Cleveland, Ohio
Perspective from Interstate 490 west
Ramps from Interstate 77 (Willow Freeway) and Broadway Avenue (old U.S. 21) merge onto Interstate 490 at the Cuyahoga River bridge. The freeway proceeds west to Tremont and Interstates 71 south (Exit 1A) and 90 west. Photo taken 09/30/10.
Back to back lane drops occur at Exit 1A for the flyover joining the west end of I-490 with I-71 south. Interstate 71 splits with Ohio 176 (Jennings Freeway) nearby. Photo taken 09/30/10.
Interstate 71 extends south from the Innerbelt Freeway (I-90) to run west through to Riverside in Cleveland, Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport (CLE) and the suburb of Brook Park. Photo taken 09/30/10.
Interstate 490 west defaults onto Interstate 90 (Northwest Freeway) west to Cudell, Jefferson and Kamms Corners in west Cleveland. Photo taken 09/30/10.
The flyover carrying motorists from I-490 west to I-71 south forms a distributor roadway connecting with the Medina Freeway mainline leading to Brooklyn Center and the Jennings Freeway (Ohio 176) south to I-480. Photo taken 09/30/10.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 490 west
Crossing Industrial Valley and the Cuyahoga River, Interstate 490 passed under this set of button copy signs for Interstates 71 and 90. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April 2006).
Sign changes made for Exit 1A added panels for Ohio 176, reflecting the 1998-completed Jennings Freeway. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April 2006).
Interstate 490 travels below the Medina Freeway and the three flyovers joining Interstates 71 and 90. Milepost zero stands ahead at the gore point bringing I-90 west from the Innerbelt Freeway. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April 2006).
Perspective from Interstate 90 east
The first sign for Interstate 490 (Exit 170C) appears along Interstate 90 (Northwest Freeway) east at Exit 169 to West 41st and 44th Streets in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. Photo taken 09/30/10.
West 41st Street crosses over the four eastbound lanes of I-90 as the Northwest Freeway enters the Ohio City Near West Side neighborhood. The left-hand two lanes default onto Interstate 490 east in 0.9 miles. Photo taken 09/30/10.
U.S. 42 leads north to Superior Avenue east to end at Public Square in Downtown. Interstate 90 also reaches Downtown via the Innerbelt Freeway, which extends north from the ending Medina Freeway (Interstate 71). Traffic headed to Interstate 77 south from I-90 east must use I-490 as the north end of I-77 is no longer accessible from the Innerbelt east. Photo taken 09/30/10.
Interstate 90 utilizes a two lane flyover to turn north onto the Innerbelt Freeway to Downtown Cleveland as I-490 begins with three eastbound lanes. Photo taken 09/30/10.
Exit 170B branches south from four-level interchange at the Innerbelt Freeway to both Interstate 71 (Medina Freeway) southwest to Brook Park and Columbus and Ohio 176 (Jennings Freeway) south to I-480 at Parma and Brooklyn Heights. Photo taken 09/30/10.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 90 east
Button copy signs formerly posted for Interstate 490 east and U.S. 42 at Exit 169. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April 2006).
Spacing allotted for a I-490 control city was eliminated with replacements made along I-90 east by 2010. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April 2006).
Historical Perspective from Interstate 71 north
Interstate 71 (Medina Freeway) leads east though the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood of Cleveland through to collector distributor roadway (Exit 247B) for Interstates 90 and 490. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April 2006).
U.S. 42 & Ohio 3 span I-71 at the Clark-Fulton neighborhood as Interstate 71 curves northeast to merge with the north end of Ohio 176 (Jennings Freeway). Two lanes continue north onto I-90 (Innerbelt Freeway) east while a c/d roadway and Exit 247A depart for West 14th Street and Interstates 90 and 490. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April 2006).
I-71 north elevates to pass over the northbound lanes of Ohio 176 at a wye interchange. The separation for Interstates 90 (Northwest Freeway) west and 490 east follows from the viaduct. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April 2006).
Including the c/d roadways, five carriageways run north-south through the Tremont neighborhood between MetroHealth Medical Center and the Steelyard Commons retail center. The northbound lanes of I-71 partition with the c/d roadway for I-90/490 along the viaduct as Exit 247A departs to Clark Avenue and Steelyard Drive. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April 2006).
Historical Perspective from Ohio 176 (Jennings Freeway) north
Ohio 176 (Jennings Freeway) winds north from Interstate 480 through the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland through to Big Creek. The freeway connects with Interstates 90 and 490 in two miles. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).
North of Big Creek, Ohio 176 travels through the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood to the merge with Interstate 71 ahead of I-90/490. Departing here is the off-ramp for Denison Avenue to Harvard Avenue and the village of Newburgh Heights. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).
Ohio 176 (Jennings Freeway) north approaches Interstate 71. Rather than merge with I-71 directly, the two carriageways form a double deck freeway through to the collector distributor roadway for Interstates 90 west and 490 east. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).
Traveling below I-71, the next exit from Ohio 176 departs for a roundabout joining West 14th Street with Quigly Road. 14th Street south connects the Jennings Freeway with Interstate 71 (Medina Freeway) south at Clark-Fulton. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).
North beyond 14th Street, Ohio 176 emerges from the double deck freeway to split into single lane ramps for the ending Interstate 71 to I-90 (Innerbelt Freeway) east and a slip ramp for the c/d roadway to I-90 (Northwest Freeway) west and I-490 east. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).
An end sign for Ohio 176 appears at the separation of traffic for I-90 east to Downtown and the c/d roadway for I-90 west to Lorain and I-490 east to Interstate 77 and the North Broadway community. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (06/18/06).
Clark Avenue spans Interstate 71 and the c/d roadways as traffic partitions for Interstates 90 west and 490 east. There is no longer access from I-90 (Innerbelt) east to I-77 south due to the Innerbelt Project. I-490 instead provides the connection. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April 2006).
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 77 - Cleveland, Ohio
Perspective from Interstate 490 east
Eastbound Interstate 490 approaches its final two exits: Exit 2A, Junction Ohio 14/Broadway and Exit 2B, Junction Interstate 77 north to downtown Cleveland and south to Akron. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Eastbound Interstate 490 reaches Exit 2A, Junction Ohio 14/Broadway. The next exit is Exit 2B, Junction Interstate 77 north to downtown Cleveland and south to Akron. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
End Interstate 490 sign bridge near the Exit 2B ramp departure for Interstate 77 north and south. At the time of this photograph, the northbound ramp was closed. Note that the eastbound mainline continues with East 55th Street signage. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
The right lanes of Interstate 490 connect to Interstate 77 north to downtown Cleveland and south to Akron. The left lanes default onto a ramp to East 55th Street and the end of the freeway. If the once-proposed but now canceled Interstate 290 proposal were built to its full extent, the ramp to East 55th Street would have continued east all the way to Interstate 271. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
After the Interstate 77 ramps, the remaining lanes of Interstate 490 connect to East 55th Street. The left two lanes connect to northbound East 55th Street, while the right lane connects to East 55th Street southbound. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
A lane allocation sign is posted prior to the East 55th Street traffic signal. Thus ends Interstate 490, one of the shorter Interstates in Ohio. Use East 55th Street northbound to U.S. 422/Ohio 8 (Kinsman Road) east to Shaker Heights and Interstate 271. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Perspective from Interstate 77 north
Interstate 77 northbound enters the city limits of Cleveland from Newburgh Heights, 1.25 miles south of Exit 161B/Interstate 490 west and East 55th Street. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Progressing northward on Interstate 77 toward Interstate 490 and the ultimate terminus at downtown Cleveland with Interstate 90. The freeway stub between Interstate 77/490 and East 55th Street is all that was constructed of the Interstate 290 alignment planned between Interstate 77 and Interstate 271 near Pepper Pike. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Interstate 77 northbound sees an exit-only lane for the westbound beginning of Interstate 490 and the associated eastbound connector to East 55th Street. Departing in this scene is the Exit 161A off-ramp for Ohio 4/Broadway. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Interstate 490 westbound departs in 0.25 miles from Interstate 77 as the freeway crosses paths with Ohio 4/Broadway. The control city featured is Toledo, the northwestern Ohio city served by the Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80 and Interstate 90) 107 miles to the west. Photo taken 02/25/02.
Interstate 77 north at Exit 161B/Interstate 490 west East 55th Street. If Interstate 490 were to be extended east from this point, it would continue from East 55th Street. However, such an extension is very unlikely, even if it were to mitigate a possible reconstruction or closure of Interstate 90 along the lakeshore. Photo taken 02/25/02.
Perspective from Interstate 77 south
Now traveling south on Interstate 77 at Exit 162A (Woodland Avenue/Broadway/East 30th Street), we see the coming junction with Interstate 490 (Exit 161B), which travels east to East 55th Street and west to Interstate 90 west to Toledo. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Southbound Interstate 77 reaches Exit 161B, Junction Interstate 490. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Once on the transition ramp from southbound Interstate 77 to Exit 161B, the left lane connects to East 55th Street, and the right lane connects to westbound Interstate 490 to Toledo. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).
Perspective from Interstate 490 west
Leaving the East 55th Street traffic signal, Interstate 490 begins its westbound journey and approaches its first interchange: Junction Interstate 77 north to downtown Cleveland and south to Akron. Photo taken by Tim Kubat (April-June 2006).

Sources:

  1. "Two Interstate 77/90 Ramps to Close Permanently as Part of Innerbelt Work." Ohio Department of Transportation, April 5, 2011.
  2. "Connecting I-490 to University Circle - An Examination of the Economic and Community Development Impacts of ODOT's East Side Alternatives on affected City Neighborhoods and University Circle." by Kristie Helfrich. February 2002. Ohio Department of Transportation.
  3. Opportunity Corridor - Project Overview. Ohio Department of Transportation project web site. Accessed April 13, 2016.

Page Updated April 13, 2016.

Mileage

State Ohio
Mileage 2.43
Cities Cleveland
Junctions Interstate 71, Interstate 90, Interstate 77
Source: December 31, 2015 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Cleveland metropolitan area - 1972.
Interstate 290 would have continued due east from the Interstate 90 northward turn at I-71 through to Shaker Heights and Beachwood.
Cleveland, Ohio - excerpt from the 1962 Rand McNally North American Road Atlas.
The earliest proposal for what would later become part of Interstate 490 incorporated a portion of the Interstate 80N loop north from Ravanna to Cleveland and west along Interstate 90 to the Ohio Turnpike. The southeasterly jog of I-80N to Maple Heights was later incorporated into a proposed reroute of I-490 to Maple Heights before the route was dropped all together east of 55th Street.