Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) Bridge No. 464

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) Bridge No. 464 is a Scherzer rolling lift through truss bascule bridge over the old channel of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio.


History

The original B&O bridge, No. 404, 1 was a wing-type swing span that was constructed in 1897. 4 It was limited to ten-ton cars which hampered the industrial development of Whisky Island. Additionally, the bridge afforded a channel width of only 140 feet which hindered river navigation.

It was constructed by the Cleveland & Valley Railroad (C&V), organized in 1871 to extend rail by the way of Akron to the north end of the Ohio & Erie Canal at Lake Erie. 3 The C&V went bankrupt in 1880 and reorganized in 1894 as the Cleveland Terminal & Valley Railroad (CT&V). The B&O purchased the CT&V in 1909.

In September 1905, the CT&V announced that a new bridge at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River would be constructed to widen the shipping channel and to remove any obstacle to river navigation. The new bridge was proposed to be a rolling lift with a clear width of 210 feet. Considered a novelty at the time, the rolling lift bridge would raise on one end into the air, supported by a counterbalance on the front end. The new span was designed by the Scherzer Rolling Lift Company under the preparations of J.E. Greiner, Chief Engineer. 4

The B&O made available $180,000 towards the construction. It was part of a major construction project along the Newcastle division, which included constructing cut-offs, lowering grades, and double-tracking to improve reliability of service and to increase track speeds.

The steel was fabricated by the King Bridge Company of Cleveland and erected by the Pittsburgh Construction Company. 4 When it was completed in 1907, the bridge afforded a 230-foot span with a clear channel width of 210 feet. It was the longest single-leaf Scherzer ever constructed. 2 4

In 1949, the Chamber of Commerce backed a study at the request of Cleveland’s industrial and business interests to construct a lift span for the B&O. The estimated cost of such a bridge would be $4,250,000. It was never completed.

The abandoned bridge, left in the raised position, was lit in 1996 as part of Cleveland’s bicentennial project. 2

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