New Single-Deck Bridge Design Unveiled for Deteriorating Western Hills Viaduct

The new extradosed-style bridge will feature "longer and fewer spans," as well as a "protected shared path for pedestrians and bicyclists on the south side."

click to enlarge A bridge in Waco, Texas that shows what an extradosed bridge looks like - Photo: Provided by City of Cincinnati
Photo: Provided by City of Cincinnati
A bridge in Waco, Texas that shows what an extradosed bridge looks like

The City Manager's office has released a rendering of the proposed design of the new single-deck bridge to replace the crumbling Western Hills Viaduct.

The bridge, owned by Hamilton County and maintained by Cincinnati's Department of Transportation & Engineering, has been deteriorating for years. And in 2010, officials launched an official study of the structure, which concluded that replacement — not repair — was the best option.

"The proposed bridge will be built on a new alignment immediately to the south of the existing viaduct and will include two 150-foot towers supporting the main span, with a series of cables that fan out at an angle from both sides of the towers," reads a memo from the City Manager. "The new bridge design will have longer and fewer spans, which requires significantly fewer foundational support piers in the railyard. The new bridge will also have a protected shared path for pedestrians and bicyclists on the south side and a sidewalk on the north side." 

click to enlarge The proposed viaduct, with the shared pedestrian and bike path - Photo: Provided by City of Cincinnati
Photo: Provided by City of Cincinnati
The proposed viaduct, with the shared pedestrian and bike path

The existing viaduct will remaining standing and functional until the new one is complete, at which point the old viaduct will be removed.

Project cost estimates are around $335 million and, per the memo, include the "design, construction, right-of-way acquisition, and ongoing maintenance and removal of the existing viaduct."

The new bridge single-deck, extradosed bridge design by T.Y. Lin International is supported by both the county and the city. 

So far, more than a third of the necessary funding for the project has been secured, including $21 million in new grants from ODOT and OKI. The city and county are also "equally sharing the required local match of $66 million needed to secure the federal and state funding," per the memo. 

The new bridge is slated to be built in phases, with construction starting as early as 2022. The city will hold a public meeting the week of Nov. 16 to share the report and accept public comment.

The more than half-mile-long bridge opened in 1932 and engineers say it is now nearing the end of its lifespan. Experts say it is still safe, though in 2017, the lower deck of the bridge was shut down temporarily after debris fell on a car from its upper span. 

Learn more at and read the report at cincinnati-oh.gov/WHV. 

click to enlarge The current Western Hills Viaduct - Photo: City of Cincinnati
Photo: City of Cincinnati
The current Western Hills Viaduct

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