The construction of Union Terminal from 1929 to 1933 saw a massive reconfiguration of the Mill Creek Valley's railroads and roadways. The Liberty St. and Harrison Ave. Viaducts were demolished and replaced by the Western Hills Viaduct, 8th St. Viaduct, and Gest St. Tunnel. The last obligation of the Union Terminal Company was the 6th St. Viaduct, built in 1940 and renamed the Waldvogel Memorial Viaduct in the 1950's.
The Waldvogel Viaduct's structure and surroundings resemble the elevated subway lines of New York City's outer boroughs, with closely placed steel legs straddling the street below. It is and probably has been since its construction the single most unruly piece of roadway infrastructure in the Cincinnati area. All of the elements symptomatic of hated roadways and bridges can be seen here including narrow lanes, short merges, abrupt turns, poor lighting, confusing signage, railroad tracks in the road, closed ramps, ramps that look closed but actually aren't, 5-way intersections, and piers in the middle of the road.
The Waldvogel Viaduct originally extended a few hundred feet further east, bridging the Mill Creek. However its easternmost section was demolished in the 1960's to allow construction of the 6th St. Expressway. Since its opening in 1964, the expressway has acted as a one mile extension of the viaduct, providing a grade seperated connection with I-75 and downtown. The transition between the two is rather conspicuous, with the generic barrier walls, lighting, and wide lanes of the 6th St. Expressway suddenly replaced by the narrow lanes, abrupt ramps, and old signage of the Waldvogel Viaduct.
The western end of the viaduct is the most complicated, with a squid-like tangle of entrance and exit ramps that are early examples of the multi-level expressway interchanges seen everywhere in the United States today. The viaduct's ramps differ from those of modern expressways in that they were designed for slower speeds and traffic volumes, with relatively sharp curves and no emergency shoulders. Additionally, the length of each span is much shorter than today's expressways, and the higher number of piers results in an especially cluttered situation. This westernmost section is also notable for the hundreds of feet of retaining wall which were constructed in conjunction with the viaduct. The poured concrete walls are nearly identical to the Columbia Parkway retaining walls on the other side of the city, including similar abandoned staircases.
Waldvogel Viaduct Replacement
The viaduct was most recently rehabilitated in 1995, and original railings and light fixtures restored, but it must be replaced in the near future. In March 2001, it was pictured on the front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer, cited as city-owned bridge most in need of replacement. The preferred alternative approved soon after sees the viaduct mainline and River Rd. replaced by an at-grade four-lane boulevard, with no ramps to State Ave. and access from local streets reduced.
In 2005 the drawings below appeared on the City of Cincinnati's official website:
Click Here for a giant version of this graphic
The graphic below was modified from the official pdf that appears at http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/transeng/pages/-11270-/. Three separate pdf's augmented the below graphic with cross-section views from various points along the replacement viaduct; that information was too obscure to include here.
Work on the new viaduct might begin in 2008 or 2009. Updates to come as they appear.
Work On L. Price Hill Viaduct Closer
Reported by: 9News
Web produced by: Mark Sickmiller
Photographed by: 9News
Last updated: 7/28/2005 5:54:11 PM
Crews are closer to fixing and renovating the 6th Street viaduct in Lower Price Hill. $16.5 million in funding for the project has been approved as part of this year's federal transportation bill. While that's a major shot in the arm, more funding is needed. And, the city's engineering department says if all goes well, construction won't begin until 2008.
Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Waldvogel Viaduct overhaul proposed
$39M project would take two years
By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Tearing down and rebuilding the Waldvogel Viaduct ? which links Sixth
Street to the west side ? would cost $39 million and construction would last two
years, city officials said Tuesday.
If the city can find state, federal and county money, the project would
in 2004 and run until 2006.
Transportation officials say the 60-year-old viaduct is in desperate need
overhaul. The replacement project has been on the city's drawing board for at
least seven years, but has been stalled because of a lack of funding.
The viaduct reaches over River Road and connects downtown to Elberon
and Warsaw avenues in Price Hill.
The project would lower much of the eastern end of the viaduct to ground
level, and re-engineer the ramps at the western end to make them safer.
?It's a fairly radical departure from what's there,? said John F. Deatrick,
city's director of transportation and engineering.
The plan is to build a part-temporary, part-permanent viaduct alongside
current structure to maintain traffic while the viaduct is torn down, said project
manager Chris Nyberg. But he conceded the project inevitably would lead to
some traffic headaches for west-side commuters.
West-side business groups have lobbied for the project as essential to
economic development in Price Hill.
City Council members, in turn, are lobbying state, federal and county officials
for money to complete the project.
Councilman Chris Monzel is leaning on Congressman Steve Chabot, who
said federal money won't be easy to come by without a healthy local match.
Councilman John Cranley said he has commitments from Hamilton County
Commissioners Todd Portune and Tom Neyer that the viaduct is next on the list
of big-ticket priorities in the county's Transportation Improvement District
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