A Cincinnati map from 1962, showing the completed and proposed portions of the expressway system.
Several existing interchanges are oddly not marked on this map,
including the Mitchell Ave.,
Elmwood Place, Galbraith Rd., and Lockland.

The next phase of the Millcreek Expressway to be constructed was the four mile, eight lane stretch between the Ludlow Viaduct (mile 4) and the Ohio River (mile 0). It was built to meet the higher interstate highway standards mandated in 1960, which required wider emergency shoulders, longer interchange ramps and merges, longer distances between interchanges, and medians wherever possible. This segment was a much larger undertaking than any previous, and included the Brent Spence Bridge, Fort Washington Way interchange, 6th St. Expressway interchange, and provisions for the I-74 interchange. The northern two miles of the segment parallel Central Parkway, and the southern two miles approaching downtown and the river travel directly through the West End, what was once one of Cincinnati's oldest and densest neighborhoods. The expressway required demolition of dozens of city blocks, and permanently altered the character of downtown and the West End.  4,888 familes (15,000-20,000 people) and 551 businesses were displaced.

This aerial photo from the late 1950's shows the West End prior to the construction of I-75, 6th St. Expressway,
and the Queensgate industrial complex. Crosley Field visible at top -- I-75 was built parallel to the outfield
wall, to the right of Western Avenue.

About 1,000 feet of subway surface grading was utilized in construction of this segment of I-75. The elevated Marshall Ave. subway station was dismantled, and the north portals of the Hopple St. subway tunnel were sealed by the re-routing of Hopple St. to intersect Central Parkway directly opposite Dixmyth Ave. (now Martin Luther King Drive).  The tunnel itself survived, and its southern portals can still be seen from the expressway during the winter.

The Marshall Ave. subway station, in the exact location of today's Marshal Ave. overpass.

Construction of this segment required demolition of the easternmost part of the Western Hills Viaduct, which had been completed in 1932.  In an early conceptual drawing, I-75 was to have interchanged only with the viaduct's top deck, and an extension of the lower deck was to have snaked around to intersect Central Parkway opposite McMillan St.  As built, I-75 northbound's ramps interchange with the upper deck and southbound's ramps interchange with the lower deck.   The lower deck ramp merges required removal of one of the viaduct's original upright supports on each side.  My guess is that the existing support was first built, and then the original beam and pillars cut away.  This method has been used extensively in recent years on the elevated single and double decked expressways in Boston, and appears to be the only way to do it in order to maintain traffic.

A view of miles 2-3 of I-75, looking north with the Western Hills Viaduct at center.
(Larry Stulz photo)

Crosely Field on opening day 1962. The path for the new expressway has been cleared,
and is being used for parking. A few home runs were hit onto the expressway before the
Reds moved to Riverfront Stadium in 1970.

Opened for traffic in 1962 was "Death Hill" (mile 191) in Covington.  It descended for almost 2 miles on a 6% grade, with an S-curve switch back.  

The overpass and interchange at the bottom of the hill was completely removed in the early 1990's and replaced a few blocks north by a new interchange and feeder system at 12th St.  The new interchange and grassy location of the old interchange can be seen in the photo below:

Looking south at the hill, with Covington and the Brent Spence Bridge at bottom.
[Cincinnati Enquirer Photo]

Also completed in 1963 was the "Lockland Split", which is one of I-75's more peculiar elements. For 20 years, north and southbound traffic shared the narrow channel through Lockland, however the channel was made southbound only at this time. An entirely new mile long elevated route (mile 12) was constructed one half mile east carrying three lanes of northbound traffic. This section travels directly above and through the city of Lockland, and required the demolition of 200 homes. It is contemporary to and appears to have been built to specifications identical to elevated sections of the the 6th St. Expressway.

Also opened in the 1960's was the route through northern Kentucky, south of the hill.   Six lane construction stretched from the Ohio River (mile 192) south to the expected I-275 interchange (Exit 185), and four lanes south of that. This stretch included the tightest curve along the entire 2,000 mile route of I-75, at mile 191.  This curve was reconstructed on a wider radius in 1998.  The overpasses in Kentucky were constructed of a different arched concrete type than the straight steel beam type in Cincinnati. Due to the many later modifications to this stretch, only a few of the original arched concrete overpasses remain. This type of overpass construction can be seen throughout much of the rest of I-71 and I-75 in Kentucky and I-40 in North Carolina and Tennessee, but is never seen north of the Ohio River. <>The Millcreek Expressway was designated as I-75 at some point in the early 1960's (I apologize for not having the exact date). Apparently the "Millcreek Expressway" moniker was slow to wear off, and was completely out of usage for decades.  One small forgotten sign at the Paddock Rd. interchange still directed traffic to the "Millcreek Expressway" until 2003.  But in 2005 official planning for I-75's reconstruction launched, resurrecting the forgotten name.  

Also in the 1960's, a "highway beautification" campaign was launched, which saw the planting of 17,000 trees along the expressway route. These trees are now mature, but the grass and other foliage along I-75 is generally weedy and not well maintained.

1. 1940's
2. 1950's
3. 1960's
4. 1970's-1990's
5. Recent News and Future Plans

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