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Carter Road Bridge

Carter Road Bridge and New York Central Railroad Bridge

The Carter Road Bridge carries Carter Road over the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio. was constructed between 1939-40 1940 to replace the lower and middle West Third Street Bridges that was demolished as part of the Terminal Tower complex construction and the Collision Bend Cut 5A project.


Carter Road, named after Lorenzo Carter, Cleveland’s first permanent settler, has long been the site of a crossing over the Cuyahoga River. 11 The first bridge was constructed in 1853 but it collapsed 1857 after it was overloaded with cattle. It was hastily replaced shortly after, and in 1888, an iron swing bridge with a pivot main span of 180 feet and one fixed span of 105 feet was constructed.

The fourth iteration of a bridge on Carter Road was built in 1903 and featured a Scherzer Rolling Lift main span, the first of its kind in the city. 11 It featured a double-leaf drawspan 138 feet in length, with a 23-foot wide roadway and two six-foot sidewalks.

Cuyahoga River Streamlining Project

In 1939, as part of a project to eliminate several dangerous curves for boats and widen the navigation channel along the Cuyahoga River, a public hearing was held in regards to the need for a new bridge for Carter Road as part of the Collision Bend Cut 5A project. 1 11 Wilbur, Watson & Associates proposed to construct a vertical lift span. 11 Bids for construction were received in January 1939, and a $158,000 contract for the caissons on the substructure was awarded to the low-bidder Lombardo Bros. Construction Company of Cleveland, which in term sublet foundation work to the Western Foundation Company of Chicago for $110,000. 4 Superstructure contracts were awarded on April 12 to the Mt. Vernon Bridge Company, 9 with erection work to be performed by the Bass Construction Company. 11 Construction was scheduled to be complete by May 15, 1940. 8

Violent protests by two councilmen from southwestern wards on February 20 held up city council approval of the purchase of $150,000 worth of property along the Cuyahoga River for the river straightening and Carter Road Bridge project. 7 The councilmen had complained that the bridge provided inadequate access to their wards. The protests did little to slow the progress on the bridge’s construction as by December 6, work was well ahead of schedule, and that the north tower was almost ready for the installation of the lifting equipment. 8 Construction on the south tower had just started. By mid-February 1940, the two towers were joined with a Pratt through truss. 3

On March 4, Republican Floor Leader Herman Finkle halted all construction of improvement projects along the Cuyahoga River, pending an investigation of the contracts involved with the substructure of the new Carter Road span. 4 Finkle asserted that Lombardo Bros. Construction Company had profited $48,000 on the subletting of part of its contract to the Western Foundation Company. Lombardo replied that it had lost some money on the sub-contract because it had to pay more for some materials than it was getting for them from the Western Foundation Company. 4 5 The companies were cleared of any misdoings. 6

Because of the delays caused by Finkle’s accusations, the new Carter Road bridge opened two weeks behind schedule in June. 2

The Carter Road bridge was rehabilitated in 1989. 10 An inspection of the crossing in 2005 noted that while the substructure and superstructure were in good condition, its machinery and electrical equipment were outdated and that many of its moving parts exhibited severe wear and tear or deterioration. The counterweights suffered so much deterioration that they required outright replacement.

In March 2009, the city passed an ordinance to allow the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency to seek funds in the approximate amount of $2.5 million that would go towards the rehabilitation of the Carter Road bridge. 10 It was estimated that the project would be financed with 80% derived from Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds, with Cleveland providing the non-federal share of construction at $446,000. The rehabilitation project of the bridge began in May 2010.



  • State: Ohio
  • Route: Carter Road
  • Type: Vertical Lift, Pratt Through Truss
  • Status: Active - Automobile
  • Total Length: 285 feet (1888); 276 feet (1903); 559 feet (1940)
  • Main Span Length: 180 feet (1888); 220 feet (1940)
  • Spans:
  • Deck Width: 35 feet (1903); 59 feet (1940)
  • Roadway Width: 46.5 feet (1940)
  • Above Vertical Clearance: 14 feet (1940)


  1. Dean, Jewell R. “Marine News.” Plain Dealer [Cleveland] 19 Mar. 1939: 56. Print.
  2. “New Lift Bridges Ready By June 1.” Plain Dealer [Cleveland], 10 May 1940: 10. Print.
  3. “Riveters Build Bridge in Icy Air Above River.” Plain Dealer [Cleveland], 1 Feb. 1940: 11. Print.
  4. Lawrence, Charles W. “Sidetracks River Jobs for Probe.” Plain Dealer [Cleveland], 5 Mar. 1940: 1-6. Print.
  5. “Defends Transfer of Bridge Contract.” Plain Dealer [Cleveland], 6 Mar. 1940: 15. Print.
  6. “Lays Span ‘Data’ to Troublemaker.” Plain Dealer [Cleveland], 12 Mar. 1940: 5. Print.
  7. “Bridge Approach Protests Hold Up Land Acquisition.” Plain Dealer [Cleveland], 21 Feb. 1939: 4. Print.
  8. “Carter Bridge Ahead of Schedule.” Plain Dealer [Cleveland], 7 Dec. 1939: 11. Print.
  9. “Work Progresses on New Carter Road Bridge.” Plain Dealer [Cleveland], 12 Apr. 1939: 20. Print.
  10. “Rehabilitate the Carter Road Lift Bridge in Cleveland.” Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, n.d. 27 July 2012. Article.
  11. Watson, Sara Ruth, and John R. Wolfs. “Moveable Bridges.”Bridges of Metropolitan Cleveland. By SaraRuth Watson and John R. Wolfs. N.p.: n.p., 1981. 48-49. Print.

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