I-471 Daniel Carter Beard Bridge

The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge was dedicated in 1981 as the river crossing for I-471.  The bridge is is the easternmost of the city's downtown bridge group, with the old L&N Bridge located 1/4 mile to the west and the I-275 Combs-Hehl Bridge  about five miles to the east.  I-471 interchanges with I-71 a mile north of the bridge, and in the same vicinity interchanges with the 3rd St. Viaduct, the 5th St. Viaduct, and 6th St.  Like the Brent Spence Bridge, the I-471 Bridge carries heavy daily commuter traffic, but unlike its I-71/75 counterpart it carries no through traffic since it serves a spur highway.

Construction of the I-471 bridge's piers began in 1971, and work began in 1972 on the first of its two trademark yellow tied arch spans.  The northbound span was jacked into place in August of 1974, after which work began on the southbound span, reusing the same falsework in a money saving effort.  The second span was jacked into place a year later, and the bridge opened to limited traffic in 1977.  The bridge opened along with six nearby access ramps as the first segement of I-471.  The bridge was not dedicated until I-471 through Kentucky was completed in 1981, and did not carry a full traffic load until the 1985 completion of its connections with I-71.

A 1980 view of the bridge from the Carew Tower contrasts with the top view from 2000 --
fewer skyscrapers, no riverfront park, and little traffic on the bridge.  I-471's fresh concrete
can be seen at right. 
[Penny Simmons photo]

Another 1980 view shows the temporary Eggleston Ave. connections and the base of
Mt. Adams prior to construction of the retaining wall.  This photo also predates construciton
of the Proctor & Gamble world headquarters.
[Penny Simmons]

The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge is named after the founder of the Boy Scouts, who was born and raised nearby. However, many locals, including traffic reporters, ignore the bridge's official name and instead call it "The Big Mac Bridge".   The nickname stems from an early 1980's attempt by McDonald's to open a floating restaurant on the Newport Riverfront, where Hooters is today.  McDonald's withdrew plans when completion of the Riverside Drive interchange ramps were delayed due to local opposition.

This post card from the late 1970's shows that the nickname was earned early in the bridge's life. 
Also, the speed limit sign at left reads 35mph. 

The bridge was repainted for the first time since its construction in 2004.  The following two photographs were published in the July 27, 2004 online edition of the Cincinnati Post.


The bridge's emergency shoulders were turned into fourth through lanes recently in December 2000, coinciding with the reconstruction of entrance and exit ramps from the 3rd St. Viaduct. But in anticipation of a 50% rise in traffic volume by 2020, two new three lane bridges have been proposed for either side of the current bridge. Presumably these new bridges would be tied arch bridges of a style matching the current bridge, but no preliminary drawings have been made public and no official planning is currently underway.

1. I-471 Bridge Photos

2. Back to Main