Craig Memorial Bridge (OH 65)

The Craig Memorial Bridge carries Ohio Route 65 over the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio.

After the Cherry Street Bridge was destroyed in the flood of 1883, the city towed remnants of the bridge downstream, constructed two new spans and created the Ash-Consaul Bridge.1 It was demolished in 1957 for the Craig Memorial Bridge, part of Ohio Route 120.4 The first section of a relocated Ohio Route 120 was opened between US Route 20 and Ohio Route 51 in 1955 and extended north to Summit Street in Toledo two years later, which required the completion of a Maumee River double leaf bascule drawbridge.5 By 1959, the highway was completed to Michigan as the Toledo-Detroit Expressway and signed as Ohio Route 120 south of and US Route 24A north of Summit Street.6 7

In 1958, Ohio requested that Interstate 77 be designated for the Toledo-Detroit Expressway.7 Interstate 77 would have veered westward from Cleveland and overlapped with Interstate 90 to Toledo, using the Toledo-Detroit Expressway to Detroit. It would have then veered westward to Port Huron, Michigan. By August, Ohio requested that Interstate 77 be truncated to Cleveland and that Interstate 280 be applied to the new expressway, and that Michigan’s portion of former Interstate 77 be designated Interstate 75E. It was approved in November by AASHO.

Interstate 280 was not brought up to freeway standards south of East Toledo until 1990,3 and contained seven at-grade intersections.7 But the drawbridge and its network of ramps on both ends was an obstacle. By 1996, the drawbridge opened on average 900 times a year for ship traffic, with an average delay of seven minutes.1 By 2007, that number had dropped to 266 openings. It’s ramp configurations were treacherous; it featured a three-leg northbound exit to Summit and Huron streets, but the Huron ramp was closed shortly after due to a rash of accidents.8 During the mid-1990s, the northbound Summit to southbound Craig ramp was closed after a safety wall built during bridge renovations caused such poor sight distances that motorists using the ramp could not see traffic that they had to merge into. In addition, all of the ramps were too short for traffic to merge onto the interstate.

In 2007. the Craig Memorial Bridge closed to all traffic for reconstruction into a local roadway as part of the Glass City Skyway project.2 The project involved the creation of a bike path separate from automobile traffic, the installation of fiberglass decking instead of a steel grid for the bike path, the removal of the Interstate 280 ramps and the filling in of the Interstate 280 trench through North Toledo with 815,000 cubic yards of earth 20 feet deep. It was reopened to traffic on December 15, 2009, although work remained to convert the remainder of what used to be Interstate 280 and its network of ramps into public parks. Several projects wrapped up in the fall of 2010, including additional landscaping and the construction of connecting bike paths.

The total project cost was $21.3 million.2

  1. Weber, Laren. “Beneath the beams, abutments, and concrete, Toledo’s Maumee crossings have a story to tell.” Toledo Blade 17 June 2007: n.p. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
  2. Patch, David. “Toledo’s Craig Memorial Bridge set to reopen to traffic after long closure.” Toledo Blade 14 Dec. 2009: n.p. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
  3. Harvey, Hank. “Life in the Fast Lane Surrounds Toledo.” Toledo Blade 3 Apr. 2013: n.p. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.
  4. “Official Highway Map.” Ohio Department of Highways 1955. Web. 6 Sept. 2013. Map.
  5. “Official Highway Map.” Ohio Department of Highways 1957. Web. 6 Sept. 2013. Map.
  6. “Official Highway Map.” Ohio Department of Highways 1959. Web. 6 Sept. 2013. Map.
  7. “Interstate 280.” Kurumi n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2013. Article.
  8. Patch, David. “Public participation played an important role in the Skyway’s conception, design, development.” Toledo Blade 17 June 2007: n.p. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.

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