The 8th Street Viaduct carries 8th Street over Mill Creek, railroad tracks, and streets in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The 8th Street Viaduct was a proposed elevated roadway between downtown Cincinnati and the Lower Price Hill and Price Hill neighborhoods. 6 7 8 It aimed to span over Mill Creek, local streets, and several railroad tracks. In May 1892, the city issued $350,000 in bonds to fund the acquisition of right-of-way and construction. 8 In July, the bid for the superstructure was awarded to the King Bridge Company. 7 Finally, on December 2, 1893, the new 8th Street Viaduct was opened for vehicles, streetcars, and pedestrians. 10
However, the bridge was plagued with various issues. On March 17, 1907, during a flood, three fifty-foot spans of the viaduct collapsed. 4 Upon inspection, it was determined that two additional spans of the bridge needed to be removed due to insufficient support. 5 Specifically, the piers were resting on deteriorated white oak piles. 6 9 The surrounding filled ground allowed water to seep through, undermining the stability of the piers. 6
An ordinance to provide $115,500 towards the repair of the viaduct was passed in January 1908. 11 A contract for the paving of the roadway was let in June 1909, 12 and the restored 8th Street Viaduct was completed later in the year.
In 1924, the bridge’s deteriorating condition became a cause for concern. 13 As a result, plans and specifications were prepared for its replacement, which was expected to be completed by June. The projected cost for constructing a new viaduct was $1.5 million, but this figure was expected to increase due to a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court. The court ruled against a state law that compelled railroads to cover 65% of the expenses for grade elimination projects. On the other hand, repairing the current viaduct was estimated to cost around $500,000 and would only last for approximately ten years.
The preliminary work for the viaduct reconstruction began in 1925, and the final design was completed in May 1927. 3 The construction contract was awarded to the Folwell Engineering Company of Chicago on December 9, but work didn’t start until April 1928. To accommodate traffic during the project, a temporary viaduct was built for streetcars and some vehicles.
The new 8th Street Viaduct reopened to automobiles and streetcars on October 5, 1929. 3 The dedication event involved Governor Myers Y. Cooper 15 and the participation of 25 civic, fraternal, and social organizations from the Western Hills community. The bridge, made of reinforced concrete, featured a 56-foot-wide roadway deck and two seven-foot-wide sidewalks, along with entrance and exit ramps to Evans Street. 2 3 Clifford H. Miller, a consulting engineer, designed the bridge, which E. A. Gast, the county resident engineer, supervised. 3 The construction cost totaled $1.5 million, 15 with funding from the Cincinnati Union Terminal Company ($100,000), the state of Ohio ($150,000), and the remaining amount covered by the county. 2 3 The bridge was considered an extension of US Route 50 3 until the construction of the 6th Street Viaduct in 1940 when it was rerouted onto it.
By the early 1970s, the steel-reinforced concrete viaduct had significantly deteriorated, prompting a joint city and county bridge maintenance agreement in 1973. 15 As part of this arrangement, the 8th Street Viaduct was among the first bridges to undergo rehabilitation in 1974 at the cost of $1 million. However, the repair project excluded the seldom-used Evans Street ramps, as they were only utilized by 920 cars per day. The estimated cost to repair these ramps was $750,000. Consequently, the authorities decided to close the ramps to traffic permanently.
In June 1983, the city applied for $250,000 in federal funding known as the “jobs bill.” 15 The intended purpose of this funding was to demolish the Evans Street ramps. However, unfortunately, the city’s request for funding was denied. The two ramps were removed between June and October 2002. 14
In 2008, the 8th Street Viaduct underwent rehabilitation due to its degraded condition and a weight limit reduction from 40 tons to 20 tons. 16 The bridge was closed to traffic in May 16 and reopened with one lane in each direction on July 24, 2009. 18 The project, costing $25 million, 17 involved several key improvements.
A girder structure at the viaduct’s western end, which obstructed drivers’ view when turning onto 8th Street from Burns Street, was removed. 16 Additionally, 22 out of the 78 concrete piers were replaced; they had been damaged by water seeping through broken expansion joints. Furthermore, the roadway deck, railings, and lights were all replaced to enhance safety and functionality.
The project cost was shared among different entities, including the state, city, county, and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments. 16
The renovated 8th Street Viaduct was dedicated following a ceremony on October 22, 2009. 17
- State: Ohio
- Route: 8th Street
- Type: Girder or Beam
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Total Length: 5,530' (1929)
- Deck Width: 70' (1929)
- Roadway Width: 56' (1929)
- Mecklenborg, Jake. “8th St. Viaduct.” Cincinnati Transit.
- “State Aid.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 7 Jun. 1927, p. 24.
- “Are We Proud!” Cincinnati Enquirer, 4 Oct. 1929, p. 11.
- “Eighth Street Viaduct Collapsed Sunday.” Butler County Democrat, 21 Mar. 1907, p. 3.
- “Two More Spans.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 20 Mar. 1907, p. 7.
- “Viaduct Break Due to Faulty Construction.” Cincinnati Post, 18 Mar. 1907, pp. 1-2
- “King Bridge Co.” Cincinnati Post, 16 Jul. 1892, p. 1.
- “Bonds Issued.” Cincinnati Post, 17 May 1892, p. 3.
- “Specifications.” Cincinnati Post, 30 Nov. 1892, p. 1.
- “The First Car.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 3 Dec. 1893, p. 13.
- “An Ordinance No. 307.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 17 Jan. 1908, p. 9.
- “City Hall Notes.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 3 Jun. 1909, p. 4.
- “To Close Millcreek Viaduct; New Structure Is Necessary.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 3 Jun. 1924, p. 4.
- “Traffic watch.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 26 Jun. 2002, p. A2.
- Rosen, Steven. “Eighth St. Ramps’ Destruction Thwarted.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 2 Jul. 1983, pp. B1-B2.
- McGurk, Margaret A. “City-Price Hill link closing.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 18 Feb. 2008, pp. B1-B2.
- “Eighth Street Viaduct Has Grand Reopening.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 23 Oct. 2009, p. A1.
- “Single lanes open on 8th St. Viaduct.” Cincinnati Enquirer, 25 Jul. 2009, p. B1.