Western Hills Viaduct replacement costs keep rising - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Western Hills Viaduct replacement costs keep rising


The Western Hills Viaduct is one the most heavily traveled and structurally deficient bridges in the nation according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and it's in need of a replacement. 

Hamilton County officials are hosting a community meeting next Friday to talk about how to get the replacement project off the ground.

Cincinnati City Councilwoman (R) Amy Murray plans to be at that meeting and she says replacing the Western Hills Viaduct can't be delayed much longer.

“It's something that has to be taken care of in the next ten years and as you know in bridge projects it can take a long time so we need to start the ball rolling right now. We need to look at it and champion this and say where can we get the funding for it, what's the path so that it's moving in the right direction.”

The bridge was built back in 1932 as part of the Union Terminal project and now carries more than 70-thousand vehicles a day, but Murray says it's been showing visible signs of age.

“I've been talking now to a lot of folks on the West side and they're very concerned. As people have gone by the bridge even on occasion see concrete
coming off.”

The bridge is maintained by the city, but owned by Hamilton County. County Engineer Ted Hubbard told county commissioners this week the cost of replacement will be pricey.

“The cost though to deliver a project that we've been talking about is going to be close to....it's approaching 280 million dollars so that gives you an idea of what we're going to be dealing with.” 

That's up from the 240-million dollars estimate just a few years aqo because Hubbard says the project has become more complex.

“It's been expressed by the city of Cincinnati keep the existing Western Hills Viaduct working because to shut that structure down, as was done in the late 70's, would create havoc.

The other issue is to maintain access as we have to Spring Grove Avenue to I-75 and Central Parkway so that's going to require another double-deck structure.”

Ted Hubbard and Councilwoman Murray say it will take cooperation between city, county and federal officials to get the project moving and find the
money to pay for it.

The public is invited to weigh in during a meeting 3pm Friday afternoon at the county administration building.

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