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This is a massive, high level deck continuous truss bridge. It is a visually impressive structure noted for its size and complex truss design. Sadly, Ohio refuses to rehabilitate this bridge and plans to demolish and replace the bridge. Words cannot describe how ugly the replacement bridge will be: it will look like a large slab of concrete, a hideous scar on the landscape. A rendering is visible on this news article.
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory
The high level viaduct carries 6 lanes of traffic and sidewalks over a railroad, local street, river, and related valley north of downtown Akron. SR 8 does not maintain integrity of original design.
The main span of the massive, 8 span, 1,588' long bridge is a 3 span continuous cantilever design Pratt deck truss span with approximately 210'-480'-210' span lengths. Truss members are built up box sections. The bridge is basically the 1948, 3 span, 900'-long, High Level Bridge over the Cuyahoga River extended with girder-floorbeam approach spans on both ends. The south approach spans have been widened by the placement of stringers. All spans are finished with welded pipe railings. The bridge is large, but it has no innovative or distinctive details save for its massing.
Summary of Significance
The cantilevered deck truss bridge with its pinned connected suspended section in the main span was placed by Summit County in 1953, and it is the second of two similar cantilever deck arch bridges designed by Wilbur Watson & Associates for the county in the post-World War II era. The bridge has no innovative or distinctive details, and it is a later example of a bridge type and design that have been used since the late 19th century. This example is not historically or technologically significant. Although the bridge is large, that is a characteristic common to cantilever-design bridges. There are similarly detailed, cantilevered deck truss bridges with suspended section for highway applications dating to at 13 years before this one was constructed. Old SR 8 over the Cuyahoga River at Akron (SFN #7730306) was designed by Wilbur Watson & Associates and placed in 1947-48. That bridge has been determined to be select/eligible. That same design was largely reused in 1953 for this bridge, which is longer because of the approach spans. The 1939 cantilevered deck truss SR 2 (Main Avenue) bridge over the Cuyahoga River at Cleveland (SFN #1800035), also designed by Wilbur Watson & Associates, was determined to be in the reserve pool. It was built as part of the historically significant Shoreway, the most important, pre-1956 urban expressway in the state. Additionally, examples were built in Washington County in 1930 and Morgan County in 1931, but both have been removed.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No
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