Jump to content
Guest seicer

Cincinnati: Western Hills Viaduct

Recommended Posts

I noticed this past week that there seems to be some sort of project that is hanging a pipe or conduit of the lower deck of the northern side using huge suspension bridge style cables and turnbuckles that hang from the upper deck. Dont know if this is a new thing crossing the tracks or an effort to help hold up something that has been there for a while.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What’s the latest on replacing the Western Hills Viaduct?

 

unknown*750xx1874-1054-209-0.jpg

 

The cost of the Western Hills Viaduct has ticked upward slightly since the Cincinnati City Council last heard a status report, with the project’s total estimated cost at $310 million compared with a $300 million estimate back in February.

 

Those are 2016 dollars, so the final cost will be more, particularly considering the 11-year time frame for completing the project. Transportation director Michael Moore outlined a schedule for completing the project, including:

 

    2025: A new bridge, situated south of the current bridge, begins construction

    2028: The existing bridge is demolished.

 

More below:

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2016/11/08/what-s-the-latest-on-replacing-the-western-hills.html


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is up $110 million just 3 years!!!!

 

Not surprising since the inflation rate in construction projects is exceeding the general inflation rate. We're seeing this trend nationwide. And the longer this project is delayed, the more expensive it will get. Expect to see this cost continue to increase.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^I'd love to see some as well. I totally was not expecting a suspension bridge. I figured that the existing infrastructure below is already built around concrete piers so a typical (boring) concrete bridge was what we'd see. Not that I mind since I love the design of the Western Hills Viaduct and getting something that's more attractive would be nice to see. It just seems somewhat unnecessary but I'm also not in the field of designing or budgeting for bridges, so who knows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are going to build a suspension bridge to minimize that amount of supports that go down into the rail yard below. Trains often detail and hit the supports of the current viaduct. Removing them could also allow for a more efficient track layout.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. Good to know. And I guess that makes total sense.

 

Something iconic will be nice as well. A suspension bridge over a railyard isn't something you see everyday.

 

In fact, does anyone know of any suspension bridges of this scale that aren't over a major body of water (I'm not counting Mill Creek)? This seems pretty unique in that regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. Good to know. And I guess that makes total sense.

 

Something iconic will be nice as well. A suspension bridge over a railyard isn't something you see everyday.

 

In fact, does anyone know of any suspension bridges of this scale that aren't over a major body of water (I'm not counting Mill Creek)? This seems pretty unique in that regard.

 

We're building one here in SF that bridges over a roadway and an area where there is an underground rail tunnel precluding the supports for a conventional bridge. Not a particularly long span, but the only example I can think of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the Los Angeles "River" (which is basically the Mill Creek) is building one of these...

 

Screen-shot-2013-12-13-at-9.03.58-AM.png


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mill Creek Valley was of course the Ohio River until about 10,000 years ago when the last glacier retreated, so in the event of an unprecedented logjam somewhere around Columbia-Tusculum, the river might again flow through Norwood and then down to Price Hill paralleling I-75. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the Ohio River is a very young river on a geological timescale and its formation is a really interesting story. There was a documentary on KET at one point about it and I could very well be butchering this but this is how I remember it. The theory is it flowed north up the Mill Creak and joined the Teays River, which drained most of Ohio and WV, but was completely blocked by glaciation and caused floodwaters to erode land away west of Cincinnati to form the current route. This is why the Mill Creek Valley is seemingly much too wide for the small creek that flows through it, while the Ohio River Valley is, in places, not much wider than the river itself. The Ohio River had 2 million years to erode away the Mill Creek Valley, but only 10,000 to erode away its current valley. This is also part of the reason roadways like Columbia Parkway are constantly the victims of landslides - the valley is actively being formed and we are just helping it along by cutting big roads into it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

unknown*750xx1874-1054-209-0.jpg

 

The rendering is of a Cable-Stayed bridge, not a Suspension Bridge.

 

I like the present Art-Deco style, but the bridge is in terrible shape. I can see why a long clear span over the railroads would be advantageous. Incidentally, the City of Cincinnati has an easement over the railroads in the present location, but if they move the bridge farther south they will need a new easement. If the railroads cooperate, then great, but the railroads have a lot of leverage in this situation.

 

The rendering does not show a very large utility pole line just south of the viaduct that would also have to be relocated; that alone would probably cost many millions. Nor does it show a proposed MSD project that is underway.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would love to see an updated rendering of the Lick Run project. From what I've heard, it's been modified and downsized so much that it's unrecognizable compared to the original plans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the Los Angeles "River" (which is basically the Mill Creek) is building one of these...

 

Screen-shot-2013-12-13-at-9.03.58-AM.png

 

That's a bit over-the-top, but what strikes me is how it mirrors the existing arches on the Western Hills Viaduct at Spring Grove Avenue and Mill Creek. The arches and some of the deco lighting on the top deck are really the only worthwhile design elements of the current viaduct, save the streetcar history embedded in it which is of little concern to anyone but myself and a few others.  Flourishes like the LA viaduct are what can make a "meh" project something to really be proud of, and if that was our proposed design it would be a perfect nod to history with a truly contemporary design.  The cable stay design is interesting, but from what I can see it's rather utilitarian and highway-ish.  Since the rendering only shows half of the viaduct's current length, I'm curious what the eastern half looks like, which I'm betting will be a bog standard concrete overpass with a nightmare of ramps to Spring Grove, I-75, and Central Parkway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The abbreviated river geology goes like this:

 

Geologists believe that at one time, the Kentucky River continued north to Hamilton through the valley that is now the Ohio and Great Miami River. The Licking River flowed north to Hamilton through the valley that is now the Mill Creek. The eastern Ohio River flowed north to Hamilton via the valley that is now the Little Miami River up to Duck Creek, then through Norwood and the Mill Creek Valley. From Hamilton, the combined river flowed north.

 

When the last glacier made it as far south as Sharonville, it formed a dam and a huge lake, which spilled over the divide at Anderson Ferry to form the present Ohio River. (This is the short version. There are entire books written about this.)

 

Evidence for this theory is most readily apparent by studying topographical maps. The Mill Creek Valley is wider than the Ohio River Valley at Anderson Ferry. The prominent ridge from Northgate Mall through Cheviot and Delhi is interrupted by the Ohio River but continues into Northern Kentucky. The Great Miami River valley, Mill Creek Valley, and Little Miami River valley up to Duck Creek are exceptionally wide. Many smaller creeks point in the old direction and make abrupt turns.

 

All of this supposedly happened between 10 and 20 thousand years ago. Considering that the pyramids of Egypt are believed to have been constructed about 5 thousand years ago, all of this is geologically very recent. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got one word to say and it's in honor of the great Daniel J. Ransohoff...PENEPLAIN!

 

 

Many smaller creeks point in the old direction and make abrupt turns.

 

 

Gregory Creek in Butler County is one example of this...I think. It begins near Tylersville Road and I-75 and flows NW and empties in to the GMR near Middletown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Region in line for millions in funding for Western Hills Viaduct

 

western-hills-viaduct*750xx900-506-0-47.jpg

 

The city and county could get nearly $10 million in state funding for a preliminary stage of the Western Hills Viaduct this week.

 

The state’s Transportation Review Advisory Council is set to vote Thursday on $5 million in funding for the project’s design and another $5 million for right-of-way acquisition, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

 

More below:

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2017/01/24/exclusive-region-in-line-for-millions-in-funding.html


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^$5 million for right-of-way acquisition? Anybody know what land they're thinking about acquiring? If it's just for air rights above the trainyard, that seems too expensive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

State panel approves millions for Western Hills Viaduct

 

A state transportation panel has approved $10 million in funding for preliminary work on the Western Hills Viaduct.

 

The Ohio Transportation Review Advisory approved the funding at its Thursday meeting in Columbus.

 

More below:

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2017/01/27/state-panel-approves-millions-for-western-hills.html


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ I just came across that post on Facebook and unfortunately read the comments. 1/3 of the comments blamed Obama, 1/3 blamed Trump, and 1/3 blamed the streetcar.

 

For f***s sake people, get a grip on reality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I could have sworn I saw this reported previously and sure enough they reported on the other side of the ramp just over a year ago.  People are completely missing that this is the ramp and not the viaduct itself.

 

http://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/hamilton-county/cincinnati/drivers-worried-about-aged-western-hills-viaduct-get-assurance-that-its-safe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Political suicide thought experiment: Could Cincinnati get by without a WHV?

 

First it's unclear whether the viaduct built the Fairmount neighborhood or murdered it. In the suburban age the area has definitely become a high speed pass-through for cars from the rest of the West Side. (Although being in a valley with old school heavy industry next to a rail yard probably didn't help it.) Would taking out the through traffic help the neighborhood come back?

 

Second traffic may be able to be redirected to the 8th street and Hopple street viaducts to get to the main destinations of downtown and uptown as well as I-75. But would of that add too much travel time to some commutes? Could other road connections be improved on the west side of the mill creek to counteract this?

 

Thinking about the West Side, it seems an issue is it's got too many arterial roads randomly zig zagging and crisscrossing, and not enough Main Streets and sustained grid patterns. This is of course caused by geography. Two of the big ones (Queen City and Harrison) come together at the WHV, so it is an important connection...


www.cincinnatiideas.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem I see arising is that all of the Harrison and QC Ave traffic will at some point be dumped onto an arrow side street to connect to Westwood Northern or Glenway. The west side at rush hour already annoyed the crap out of me because the weird non-grid requires you to cut through two-lane residential neighborhoods as a matter of course, and not as some Waze shortcut. Side roads would almost certainly get widened if that bridge were to be removed. And I'm not convinced it would help Fairmont because no one would have a reason to go into that valley without the Viaduct. The real damage was caused by the absulute cluster**** of one-ways curving all over the place that split up into Harrison, Beekman and QC. I think finding a smarter way to move traffic through Fairmont would do more for it than demolishing its only link to the rest of the world.

 

All of that said, I find Fairmont weird and fascinating and in a great topographical location, and I'd love to actually see some activity happening there.


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Thinking about the West Side, it seems an issue is it's got too many arterial roads randomly zig zagging and crisscrossing, and not enough Main Streets and sustained grid patterns. This is of course caused by geography. Two of the big ones (Queen City and Harrison) come together at the WHV, so it is an important connection...

 

Seems like every time I ventured out to the West Side there were bad car crashes. Arterials and populated ziggy roads lead to that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^Westwood Northern is a death trap - so many blind intersections perched on top of steep hills, and the cross streets rarely intersect at 90 degrees, and everyone goes way faster than 40 along it. I don't know how that road isn't constant carnage.


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I think the area would be fine if the viaduct went away since the neighborhoods directly served by it have been massively depleted.  Alternatively, the viaduct could be rebuilt as a much less expensive 2-lane bridge that ignores Spring Grove Ave. and I-75.  It could simply connect South Fairmount and Central Parkway at McMillan St.  If anything that would bring a tiny amount of traffic back to Central Parkway, which is a ghost town but apparently was the site of massive traffic jams when the viaduct opened back in the 30s. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ I just came across that post on Facebook and unfortunately read the comments. 1/3 of the comments blamed Obama, 1/3 blamed Trump, and 1/3 blamed the streetcar.

 

For f***s sake people, get a grip on reality.

 

It's on a couple news sites now too. Since this is a picture of the ramp over I-75, it isn't even a part of the Viaduct replacement project. It's actually on the plans for the Brent Spence project. I don't think the $300+ million price tag for the viaduct even touches this overpass.

 

That said, the damage shown isn't that significant and the angle is pretty misleading (it makes it look like the whole bridge is sagging, it isn't it just bends/turns at the joint). The biggest concern would be small chunks of concrete cracking off and falling onto cars below, but everyone on social media thinks it is going to catastrophically fail any second now (not unlike what people think about the Brent Spence).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ And this particular chunk of concrete is over the shoulder anyway.  I want to know how many people think the steel beams are broken, not that these are cantilevered spans, because the way they're reacting, it would seem to be most of them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...