Western Hills Viaduct Replacement Project Progressing
Some 55,000 vehicles travel the Western Hills Viaduct daily, but the aging half-mile span has almost reached the end of its design life.
Planning is underway to replace the busy viaduct. A recently completed value engineering study calls for building a new double-deck structure alongside the current one in order to keep the span open during construction.
Hamilton County Engineer Ted Hubbard says that plan puts the price tag at nearly $280 million dollars.
"To shut that structure down as was done in the '70s would create havoc," says Hubbard. "The other issue is to maintain access, as we have today, to Spring Grove Avenue, to I-75, and Central Parkway. So that's going to require another double-deck structure."
He says the project will take a joint effort involving the county, Cincinnati, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the railroads.
Hubbard says the rail companies need to be involved because the plan calls for clear-spanning the rail yards.
"Railroad interests were a partners at the beginning, I don't see why they can't be a partner now," Hubbard says.
Also adding to the cost is the fact that some public utility lines, including a water main, occupy the span.
County Commissioner Todd Portune says a stakeholder meeting is being set up for sometime next week.
A timeline to replace the viaduct hasn't been established.
Hubbard says the viaduct was built in the early 1930s as part of the Union Terminal project, that's why its architecture is similar to the iconic structure.Western Hills Viaduct Replacement Estimate 01 13 16
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