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Cincinnati: Western Hills Viaduct

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I doubt anyone will have success trying to stop the viaduct from being replaced. But trying to get the new viaduct to have transit and bike accommodations is possible.

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Even if traffic volumes don't justify the new bridge, I think it's a good idea to rebuilt it just to maintain some redundancy in the transportation network. If I-74 is closed due to some major accident there should be alternate ways for people from the west side to get downtown. It's just depressing to see the double-standard where very small transit expenditure is scrutinized while $300 million road projects stay mostly under the radar.

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... It's just depressing to see the double-standard where very small transit expenditure is scrutinized while $300 million road projects stay mostly under the radar.

 

That's the thing. If a bridge in this day and age costs $300MM then it is what it is. But the streetcar gets enormous amounts of negative press for costing a third of that? You could probably pretty easily make the argument that the streetcar is recouping far more of its installation cost in economic development. A new WHV would be hard pressed to recoup much of that cost. It goes from a barren section of the West Side to a far less important thoroughfare in Central Parkway. It's not 1936 anymore.

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A study should be done to see how traffic would fare if State Ave and Beekman/Cummings St. was widened instead of  a new viaduct.  There are not many buildings along that route, so I don't think it would be a huge loss to demolish them.     

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No, people on the west side decide how they're going to get downtown or to UC well before they start going downhill.  If the viaduct were closed, there would simply be much less traffic on Harrison and Queen City.  Right now State/Beekman have like ZERO cars on them. 

 

A new single-deck viaduct that doesn't interchange with I-75 at all and just has a jug handle connection down to Spring Grove would cost a fraction of what has been proposed and studied. 

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^Cincinnati's already got one at Hopple, and there's one proposed for E 55th at the Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland. Although they're more appropriately connector roads than jughandles in the NJDOT parlance, I suppose.


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

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Navigating the West Side is already impossible, blocking left turns with Jersey barriers will just ensure that anyone who crosses the Mill Creek will never manage to leave.


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

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Navigating the West Side is already impossible, blocking left turns with Jersey barriers will just ensure that anyone who crosses the Mill Creek will never manage to leave.

 

It really is. It's a part of the closed society.

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Navigating the West Side is already impossible, blocking left turns with Jersey barriers will just ensure that anyone who crosses the Mill Creek will never manage to leave.

 

It really is. It's a part of the closed society.

 

The west side: There's plenty of ways to get there but none of them are great.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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Ohio refuses to do jughandles.

 

I forgot that Cincinnati also has a "real" jughandle at Vine Street and Galbraith Road. As far as I'm aware it's the only one in the state.


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

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Sen. Brown floats a way to pay for Western Hills Viaduct replacement

 

zwesternhills2.jpg

 

Congress should contribute funding to replace the Western Hills Viaduct by including money specifically for such structurally deficient bridges in proposed infrastructure legislation, said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

 

Brown, along with Cincinnati political and business leaders, appeared just beneath the decaying viaduct on Tuesday to tout the senator’s Bridge Investment Act. Brown would divert $75 billion of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill to fix and replace bridges. States and regions would compete for the money.

 

The half-mile viaduct, which is 86 years old and carries 50,000 vehicles a day, is slated to be replaced at a $330 million cost, but most of the money to do so has not been appropriated. The city and county have provided a local match but still need state or federal funding for the project.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/05/29/sen-brown-floats-a-way-to-pay-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

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If you're going to invest in a country's infrastructure, it makes more sense to invest in the infrastructure that's actually crumbling (WHV) before the infrastructure that is structurally fine but would be "nice" to expand (BSB).

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How much have the city and county raised so far for the Western Hills Viaduct replacement?

 

With a new $5 million grant, the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County have added to a growing pot of money available for the $335 million Western Hills Viaduct replacement project.

 

The bridge received a $5 million Local Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation award, a federal program that is administered locally by the County Engineers Association of Ohio. Hamilton County Engineer Ted Hubbard applied for the grant. The grant also requires a $1.25 million local match. To date, the project has at least $89 million in place from various sources.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/07/30/how-much-have-the-city-and-county-raised-so-far.html


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

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Designer hired for Western Hills Viaduct replacement

 

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

 

The city of Cincinnati has hired T.Y. Lin International to start designing the bridge that will replace the Western Hills Viaduct, a $330 million project.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/10/07/designer-hired-for-western-hills-viaduct.html


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

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Is there any reason this thing is still going to be double decker? Is traffic really that bad on the viaduct that they can't just integrate the I-75 interchange all on one level?

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

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The issue could be that right-of-way isn't there for a slightly wider bridge, but I don't know that for sure. Perhaps they only have so many feet to build the bridge, and without a second deck, they wouldn't have the capacity. Engineers often want to overbuild roadways, though.

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Is the Spring Grove Avenue connection being maintained?  It could be that there's not enough room to make a wide single deck and also flare it out and ramp down to Spring Grove since it has to also stay pretty high to clear I-75 and intersect Central Parkway. 

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That rendering is NOT a design proposal. The article states that the hired design firm will look at both a double deck and a dual offset design. 

 

Quote

The company will look at two types of structures – a double deck structure as the bridge is currently constructed or dual offset with the bridge having both lanes of traffic at the same level. Public involvement meetings will be held to get feedback. 

 

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$41 million to be split between Greater Cincinnati transportation projects

 

western-hills-viaduct*750xx900-507-0-93.

 

More than $41 million in federal funding will be split between 24 different transportation projects in Greater Cincinnati.

...

Among projects that will receive the funding are the replacement plan for the Western Hills Viaduct, the addition of hybrid-electric buses to Northern Kentucky’s TANK system, extensions of Riverfront Commons, replacement of the King Avenue Bridge over the Little Miami River and a new roundabout near Liberty Center.

 

Twelve bike and pedestrian projects are expected to receive a portion of the funding, including sidewalk rehabilitation and an expansion of Cincinnati Red Bike.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/10/16/41-million-to-be-split-between-greater-cincinnati.html


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

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On 10/12/2018 at 3:44 PM, jmecklenborg said:

If the new clear span enables the railroad to gain more capacity, the railroad should pay into the rebuild. 

Good luck with that....


Formerly "Mr Sparkle"

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City misses out on Western Hills Viaduct grants

 

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

 

The city of Cincinnati missed out on three recent grants it applied for to build a new, $335 million Western Hills Viaduct, but the city’s transportation department hopes it will be successful when it reapplies next year.

 

In October, the city asked for $20 million from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s local major bridge program. It also asked for $5.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation through its Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program. It also failed to get $25 million from a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant.  All of them were funded with federal money.

 

More below:

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/12/26/city-misses-out-on-western-hills-viaduct-grants.html


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

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53 minutes ago, taestell said:

Gee, I wonder why the federal government is so hesitant to give Cincinnati grants for infrastructure projects...

 

In fairness, the Trump Administration has shifted these grants to primarily rural areas--so Cincinnati isn't alone in missing out. This is especially the case for the BUILD program. Only one urban BUILD grant was awarded in the entire state, and that was to Youngstown. There were an additional two rural BUILD grants, one in Geauga County and one in Monroe County. 

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I will never forgive our city administration for missing out on round after round of TIGER grants by applying for money for worthless boondoggles (like the Cincinnati State interchange) instead of good projects that actually would have had a chance to get that funding, like the WHV or Phase II of the streetcar. Especially if the new BUILD grants bypass urban areas and funnel money to rural projects.

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On 12/29/2018 at 9:28 AM, Rabbit Hash said:

The city’s inability to be a good steward of the money awarded for other projects. Is that having an effect?

The attempt to reject the streetcar grant is probably a factor.

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I guess ODOT just cant build near existing buildings anymore. I always liked how close the current span was to the buildings at spring grove but this version of the layout knocks down a whole block to the south for that wimpy ramp and a big old 6 story or so chemical packing company to the north just because i guess.The article mentions skewing north a bit to leave the sub station intact (which is why i thought they were building that new one on Beekman but i guess not) so maybe that southern block would be saved but I doubt it and guess everything between the current location and Jeurgens is on the cutting block now?  https://www.wcpo.com/news/transportation-development/move-up-cincinnati/can-cincinnati-and-hamilton-county-save-money-on-the-western-hills-viaduct

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Here is all the land that would be cleared for a new multilane exit to Spring Grove. https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1240302,-84.5359639,3a,75y,238.9h,81.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sgFfV76oDTELaLuneOscGLg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

And all this to the North because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1249697,-84.5359915,3a,75y,317.82h,97.36t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4UwR02eabKoC6U7Rnarkkw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656  

 

In the photos you can see how far they are from the main viaduct itself.

 

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Why does the Spring Grove connection need to be preserved anyway? It's nearly as pointless as the hardly-used Fredonia and Blair bridges that ODOT replaced with the MLK exit because... reasons. Just build a 6-lane, single-deck replacement and have a SPUI interchange between the bridge and I-75, and be done with it. 


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

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7 minutes ago, BigDipper 80 said:

Why does the Spring Grove connection need to be preserved anyway? It's nearly as pointless as the hardly-used Fredonia and Blair bridges that ODOT replaced with the MLK exit because... reasons. Just build a 6-lane, single-deck replacement and have a SPUI interchange between the bridge and I-75, and be done with it. 

 

I don't get why the viaduct needs to interface with I-75 at all.  You can get to I-75 just fine from Hopple or 6th St.  Seems like they could do a single-deck 2x2-lane viaduct straight across to Central Parkway at McMillan, and then a jug handle down to Spring Grove.  This would encourage some downtown-bound traffic to use Central Parkway, which has gotten very little use since the I-75 connection opened in 1963.  

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Alternatively since the highway exit spits people out over the Viaduct that part of the West End/Brighton doesn’t get any benefit from the highway exit, even though the ramps eat up a lot of land in the neighborhood. I think you could design it so that the exit is local to West End (at Harrison Ave.,) free up the current on-ramp area along Central Parkway, and have a new Viaduct at Harrison Avenue as @jwulsinsuggested on the previous page. All without slowing West Siders down considerably.

 

 

But I think transportation thinking in our area is lazy and the only metrics of a project like this are increasing throughput  and speed of cars. The little spreadsheet that looked at alternatives with the green-yellow-red auto-formatted cells that will drive a hundred million dollar project has already been created and has been sitting in a forgotten network folder for a few years now, with no thought given about the good trade offs that might be able to happen if someone’s existing trip is slowed by 45 seconds. 

Edited by thebillshark

www.cincinnatiideas.com

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Current Plan:

 

48072884736_5250f355fb_b.jpg

 

Plan I created this morning that would be significantly cheaper (using a single deck bridge vs. double deck), minimize demolition including the electric substation, make the interstate interchange usable for the West End as well as the West Side, and free up over 10 acres of urban core land along Central Parkway for development:

 

48072992697_ce3bb0f930_b.jpg


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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Why is the current plan the way it is?  Well, engineers start off with requirements.  I believe one of the requirements of this project was to maintain a connection to McMillan Street.  Once you do away with that requirement, possibilities open up.  But the engineers aren't supposed to question the requirements.  How much more expensive will this project be because of that requirement?

 


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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