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CLEVELAND -- After 55 years, it will go out with a bang.

The Ohio Department of Transportation says plans to demolish the now-closed 1959 Innerbelt Bridge will involve controlled explosives mixed with traditional demolition.

"This demolition plan will protect the businesses that operate from the Flats as well as people living and working in the Tremont neighborhood," said ODOT construction engineer Tom Hyland, P.E.

The bridge railings, lights, barriers and concrete driving surface will all be removed using traditional methods. Specific spans over the river and railroads will also be disassembled in a traditional manner.

Several spans will be demolished using the controlled demolition method. A professional demolition company -- who has handled large-scale demolitions around the nation -- will perform the controlled demolition and a safety perimeter of 1000 feet will be set.

Additional details will be available this spring.

Just this week, crews began demolition operations, which include removing light poles, barrier wall and railings. Soon after, the concrete driving surface will be removed. This work is expected to continue through the winter into the spring of 2014.

Controlled demolition using explosives is currently scheduled to take place during the late spring or early summer of 2014.

The bridge is expected to be demolished in its entirety by this summer.

ODOT is in the midst of replacing the 1950's-era Innerbelt Bridge with two, new bridges -- one to carry westbound traffic, the other to carry eastbound traffic.

The westbound bridge -- the first of the pair -- was opened to traffic in November.

The pair of new bridges has been named in honor of statesman George V. Voinovich. When both bridges are complete, ODOT will have invested over half a billion dollars in the city of Cleveland over a six-year period.

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