The U.S. Grant Bridge carries U.S. Route 23 over the Ohio River between Portsmouth, Ohio and South Portsmouth, Kentucky.

The original crossing was a tolled suspension bridge and opened to traffic in 1927.(1) It was operated under the Ohio Bridge Commission until 1974 when the Ohio Department of Transportation acquired the bridge and removed the tolls. From 1977 to 1996, more than $9 million was spent to rehabilitate various sections of the bridge.

In 1992, the Ohio Department of Transportation began an extensive study to determine whether it would be cost effective to rehabilitate the existing U.S. Grant Bridge or demolish it in favor of a new span. Rehabilitating the existing facility would add 20 useful years to the life of the bridge before rehabilitation would need to occur again. The cost of this option was estimated at $28 million and as a result, it was found to not be cost-efficient to rehabilitate the suspension bridge when a new structure would be cheaper in the long-run.(1) In addition, the narrow lanes of the span, in conjunction with the bridge only being able to handle 60% of Ohio’s legal load for trucks weighed in negatively for the old span.

On June 30, 2000, the U.S. Grant Bridge was closed to traffic. The structure was subsequently demolished, and the contract to construct the new bridge was let in the April of 2001. The $28,434,495 contract was awarded to the C.J. Mahan Company of Grove City, Ohio. Actual work began on July 3, 2001, with a targeted completion date of June 2004. Work fell behind schedule, however, due to major weather events, flooding and design flaws. In March 2005, contractor C.J. Mahan Construction requested a contract renegotiation. As a result, the bridge’s cost from rose from $29 million to $38 million.

On October 15, 2006 at noon, the new U.S. Grant Bridge opened to traffic.(2)

Statistics (1927 bridge)

  • Designation: U.S. Route 23
  • Crosses: Ohio River
  • Bridge type: Suspension
  • Main span length: 213 m (700 ft)
  • Total length: 722 m (2370 ft)
  • Height: 86 m (283 ft)
  • Number of lanes: 2

Statistics (2006 bridge)

  • Designation: U.S. Route 23
  • Crosses: Ohio River
  • Main span length: 267 m (875 ft)
  • Total length: 657 m (2155 ft)
  • Height: 89 m (292 ft)
  • Width: 8.7 m (28.7 ft)
  • Number of lanes: 2
  • Cost: $38,000,000
Further Reading
  1. U.S. Grant Bridge Replacement at Buckland and Taylor
  2. U.S. Grant Bridge Replacement at Structurae
  3. U.S. Grant Bridge web-site by John A. Weeks III
Sources
  1. “U.S. Grant Bridge Project Summary.” Ohio Department of Transportation. 17 March 2004 Article.
  2. Barron, Jeff. “U.S. Grant Bridge to open today.” Portsmouth Daily Times. 15 Oct. 2006. 20 Oct. 2006 Article.