Chesapeake & Ohio Railway’s Cincinnati Bridge

    Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Cincinnati Bridge

    The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Bridge over the Ohio River between Covington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio has an interesting history.

    The original crossing for the bridge for the C&O was completed in 1888; cantilevered automobile lanes were later added to the exterior of the bridge. Planning efforts for a new, stronger bridge with lower grades that could accommodate the C&O’s heaviest locomotives began in the mid-1920s with construction beginning in 1926. The two sides of the cantilevered truss were joined in February 1929 and it opened to railway traffic on April 3.

    The circa 1888 bridge was repurposed for automobiles in 1931. Tolls were initially collected from motorists to pay down acquisition and construction costs, which were removed in 1942 after those bonds were paid off. The bridge was structurally neglected and it was rusting apart by the time it closed to automobiles and pedestrians in 1968—especially after a man nearly fell into the Ohio River after the sidewalk he was on had collapsed.

    The circa 1888 bridge was demolished in 1970 in preparation for the construction of the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge which opened in 1974 after much delay.

    Leave a Reply