QUEENSGATE, OH (FOX19) - The Western Hills Viaduct, Cincinnati's 82 year-old bridge linking the West side to downtown, has been ranked as among the most structurally deficient bridges in Ohio.
The bridge that was built in 1931 has 70,604 daily crossings. The bridge is only one in southwestern Ohio that made the top 10 list by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.
Motorists traveling the lower decks can easily see the bridge is aging badly.
That's also the assessment of the association which this week released a study indicating the Western Hills Viaduct is among the 10 most heavily traveled and structurally compromised bridges in Ohio.
That's a distinction Cincinnati City Engineer Richard Szekeresh says he is well aware of.
"It's 80 years old. It's reaching the end of its useful life so we're starting to look at preliminary engineering for its replacement. We started that about two years ago. We started out looking at various alternatives and alternates and options for the viaduct.
Szekeresh estimates replacing the bridge will cost $240 million. He says "because of the price tag it's going to require a lot of partners to bring this project to fruition so the more dialog we get about it the better."
West side activist Pete Witte says he's been doing a lot of talking about it. He said if the bridge were to be immediately shut down, it would impact many communities.
"The recognition by engineers and everybody involved (is) that it is deteriorating because of its age which creates an uneasiness if there were to be an accident," he said.
The city engineer's department tells FOX19 that because of enormous cost involved they'll need funding from a variety of sources including the city, county, state and federal government.
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For a history of the viaduct, click here.