CLEVELAND -- ODOT has waved to the bullpen for help from Indians relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano asking fans and downtown visitors to be patient with Innerbelt-related detours and delays.
Pestano uses a YouTube video to ask fans and visitors to be prepared to deal with new routes and closings, but still come to enjoy what downtown has to offer.
Police and ODOT are counseling the same message.
Thursday night was the first test of rush-hour and baseball game traffic dealing with the closure of the Ontario Street ramp to westbound I-90 and south to I-71 and the airport.
Barrels, barricades, electronic and ordinary signs are everywhere.
East 9th Street, East 14th Street and Orange Avenue to I-490-to 90 West are being offered as alternate routes.
Traffic commissioner James Muhic says traffic control officers will be in place to deal with departing ball game traffic.
"The old habits are the big deal...They are so ingrained, (drivers) make an immediate right and try to get back on the road...If they follow the police officers' direction, they will get to the Interstate they are trying to get to," Muhic said.
Ontario's westbound ramp will be closed for one year.
Muhic said officers may send drivers as far east as East 26th Street to enter the highway to avoid back-ups.
"We have to keep traffic moving," he said.
ODOT"S Jocelyn Clemmings said detours might provide motorists with a chance to discover new restaurants and attractions.
"Folks should get used to this traffic pattern. It's going to be there a while, " she said.