Nightly closures this weekend on Western Hills Viaduct

The Western Hills Viaduct is closing for maintenance.
The Western Hills Viaduct is closing for maintenance.(City of Cincinnati)
Published: May. 7, 2021 at 5:50 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The bottom deck of the Western Hills Viaduct is scheduled to be closed nightly this weekend, according to the Cincinnati Department of Transportation & Engineering.

It will shut down at the Harrison Avenue and Spring Grove Avenue exits starting at 8 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Sunday.

The bottom deck will reopen to traffic during the day.

The top deck of the viaduct also will remain open as well as the ramp at exit 2B from southbound Interstate 75.

Detour signs will be posted to guide drivers around the closures.

A net is being added as a safety precaution. Maintenance crews regularly remove loose concrete by chipping it off the upper deck to prevent it from falling to the lower deck. The net will catch loose concrete that might fall to the lower deck in between regular chipping and inspections.

“This area is increasingly difficult to manage through regular inspections and chipping because it is in a narrow opening that is hard to see and reach,” Bill Shefcik, who oversees bridge infrastructure for the city of Cincinnati Department of Transportation & Engineering, said. “The netting will catch loose concrete that cannot be seen or easily reached.”

The Western Hills Viaduct connects I-75 and major roads on Cincinnati’s West Side and in Hamilton County to the downtown and uptown areas of the city.

It is a major transportation link that carries more than 55,000 vehicles a day over the Mill Creek Valley and a large, active railroad yard, city officials say.

Originally built in the early 1930s, the viaduct is reaching the end of its useful life.

The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are leading a joint effort to replace the 89-year-old viaduct.

The team has secured $125 million of the $335 million needed to build a new “extradosed” bridge immediately to the south of the current viaduct, according to an outline of the project on the city’s website.

Site preparation is expected to begin this summer or fall.

The existing viaduct will remain in place for through traffic until the new bridge is finished in 2028.

The viaduct remains safe for travel, city officials say, but they are increasing maintenance efforts, with the installation of the netting this year and the addition of weight limits for certain types of three-axle trucks last year.

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