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Cincinnati Municipal Water Intake Bridge


Cincinnati Municipal Water Intake Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Dave Michaels

Bridge Documented: January 25, 2007
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Maintenance Access Over Ohio River
Fort Thomas: Campbell County, Kentucky
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1906 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This is perhaps one of the most unique bridges to be featured on this website. It connects the shore of the Ohio to a beautiful stone intake building that looks like a little castle and is located slightly into the Ohio River. Construction of this facility took place from 1898 to 1907.

Dave Michaels provides the following history:

The complex consists of the pumping station on the Ohio side, an 85 foot deep shaft containing a huge steam pump, a tunnel beneath the river and the intake "castle." By the way, these coal fired steam pumps were in use until the 1960s and they are still there. They are some of the largest steam pumps ever construction. The Society of Industrial Archeology has visited and written up these pumps. It used to be possible to arrange for tours [to see the pumps] before 9-11 but no more; although the SIA did get in after 9-11. The intake was situated on the Kentucky side because the water works was built before the navigation locks and dams were put in. They had to have a nice deep spot where there was a good depth of water during all seasons and the channel ran along the Kentucky bank and that's where the deep water was. Normal pool stage at Cincinnati is 26 feet on the gage.

The historic bridge that connects these bridges is standard yet unusual. It is standard in that its general function and design is just like that of a highway bridge, and features pinned connections and built-up members and chords featuring lattice, v-lacing and the like. However, it is unusual because the bracing layout is unusual. Sway bracing is present at the top of the bridge, but a substantial bracing also exists about halfway down the bridge, and also includes a member that runs along the truss web parallel to the top and bottom chords. The two sets of bracing are connected by very lightweight rods. Also, this bridge is a very large span for a trapezoidal truss with a Pratt configuration.

Together the architecture of the truss bridge, coupled with the stone intake building, along with the impressive Ohio River and valley all make for a very scenic setting.

Above: 1906 Photo Showing Newly Completed Bridge. Source: Library of Congress


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