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Blaine Hill Viaduct

Arches of Memory

Blaine Hill Viaduct

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: June 1, 2010

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
US-40 (Historic National Road) Over Wheeling Creek
Blaine: Belmont County, Ohio: United States
Structure Type
Concrete Open Spandrel Deck Arch, Fixed and Approach Spans: Concrete T-Beam, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1933 By Builder/Contractor: Hecker-Moon Company of Cleveland, Ohio and Engineer/Design: D. H. Overman and Ohio State Highway Department
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
133.0 Feet (40.5 Meters)
Structure Length
754.0 Feet (229.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
38 Feet (11.58 Meters)
4 Main Span(s) and 7 Approach Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historical Articles About This Bridge

This impressive and massive high-level bridge sits next to the previous bridge at this crossing, the low-level 1828 Blaine Hill S Bridge. This site is a rare opportunity to photograph two very different historic bridges in one photo. The Blaine Hill Viaduct provides a beautiful background for the Blaine Hill S Bridge.

The Blaine Hill Viaduct is an impressive example of large-scale high level open spandrel arch construction, and is historically noteworthy on these grounds. There is a system of approach spans leading up to the main arch spans, and an interesting concrete staircase is also a part of this bridge. During rehabilitation the entire deck and flooring system was replaced. The new railings were designed to continue to look historic. The main loss of integrity in this rehabilitation was the replacement of concrete t-beam approach spans with concrete pre-stressed box beam spans.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory


The bridge a highway and sidewalk over a stream in a setting with a scattered mix of early- to late-20th century residential and commercial development at the base of Blaine Hill. The highway transitions from 2 lanes at the bridge's east end to 3 lanes on the bridge to provide an up-hill passing lane. The NR-listed Blaine "S" Bridge, part of the old National Road, is to the north side of the viaduct's main span over the stream.

Physical Description

The 11 span, 754'-long bridge built on a vertical profile has four open-spandrel-arch main spans and seven prestressed-concrete box beam spans (1982), which replaced the original T-beam approach spans. The bridge is supported on reinforced-concrete abutments and 2-column bents with arched cap beams. The 2-ribbed open-spandrel arch spans have spandrel columns with capitals that now carry a prestressed-concrete box beam deck. The original concrete balustrades have been replaced with concrete parapets/safety shape barrier textured on the exterior faces to appear like the original balustrades. The bridge's eastern approach roadway is carried on earth fill with concrete retaining walls. A reinforced-concrete staircase is located on the northeast corner of the easternmost arch span.


Rehabilitation replaced arch spans from the deck up. Approach spans (originally T beams) replaced with box beams. Repaired spandrel columns and arch ribs (1982). Spalling and cracking of concrete noted in select locations including deck and spandrel columns (2009).

Summary of Significance

The 1932 open-spandrel arch bridge is one of Ohio's signature bridges designed by D. H. Overman and the state bridge bureau (Criterion C). Overman was the bridge bureau's "arch specialist" who was noted for his aesthetic designs. The bridge was rehabilitated in 1982 without adverse effect. There are 25 open spandrel arch bridges dating from 1907 to 1957 in the inventory (Phase 1A, 2008).

"The reinforced concrete open spandrel arch was first constructed around 1906. It was the dominant form for concrete bridges in the 1920s and 1930s. By eliminating the walls and fill material of the closed spandrel, dead loads were reduced and cost savings were seen in materials with the open spandrel. Aesthetics was another factor with the open spandrel. They had a lightness and visual appeal and were used in prominent or scenic locations. Open spandrel construction marked engineering prowess during the 1930s and 1940s. By the 1940s, the open spandrel concrete structure began to be supplanted by the more pre-stressed beam and reinforced concrete girder structures. Open spandrel arch bridges have pierced spandrel wall with no fill material, and the spandrel columns transmit dead and live load from the deck to the arch. The arch ring may be either solid (barrel) or ribbed. Open spandrel arch bridges require more formwork to construct than filled spandrel bridges. Open spandrel concrete arches, while not uncommon, are not as common as many other bridge types built during this same era. They are significant because they represent the evolution of concrete technology. To be considered significant, open spandrel arches should have integrity through the retention of their character-defining features, which include arch ribs, ring or barrel; spandrel; spandrel columns; railing or parapet; and piers, abutments, and wingwalls." [From: A Context for Common Historic Bridge Types by Parsons Brinckerhoff, October 2005]


Because of the early emphasis on aesthetics at the local and state levels, Ohio has an impressive assemblage of long and shorter open spandrel arch bridges dating from 1907 through World War II. Twenty-three of the 25 predate World War II. This one is evaluated as having high significance because of its aesthetics and historic contexts including the crossing and the Ohio State Highway Department.

Information From Previous 2006 Concrete Arch Report

This bridge is an eleven span, open spandrel arch bridge that was built in 1933. It is known as the Blaine Hill Viaduct and overlooks the "S" Bridge. The viaduct is sloped downward toward the east and has one sidewalk on the north side. Stairs leading down below the bridge were located on the northeast end of the structure. It had closed concrete railings that have retained their integrity. The sidewalk was crumbling a little on the east end. Beneath the bridge the arches had no major problems, but had only minor chipping and rebar exposure. A column on the south side is cracked and spalling. Two plaques were mounted on the east end of the bridge and an Ohio historical marker for the viaduct is located beside the "S" Bridge. The bridge has been named the Arches of Memory and was dedicated to World War I veterans. It was also rededicated in 1982 by the American Legion and Belmont County Council. According to the Historic Bridge Inventory the structure underwent rehabilitation in the early 1980's.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

View PDF Historic Bridge Inventory Sheet


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