This bridge was one of the first bridges ever to be photographed for this website, indeed the photos were taken before the website was even officially launched, yet for years the photos were not added to this website because it was thought that there would be time in the future to revisit the bridge in better weather and document it more completely. Alas, the years flew by without a revisit, and by the time 2009 rolled around, Columbus decided to demolish two of its greatest historic highway bridges. Therefore, Historicbridges.org has been forced to present the few dark and low-quality photos of this bridge available.
As an unfunded volunteer operation, Historicbridges.org has been faced with difficult decisions over the years. Early on in the process it was decided that when Historicbridges.org traveled out of state, a focus would be placed on photographing metal truss bridges since they tended to be the oldest, and most threatened form of historic bridges. For the most part this has been a sound plan, however, in some cases it backfires, as was the case here. Concrete arch bridges likely come in second place for most threatened, and the threat has accellerated in recent years. Today, historic bridge enthusiasts ignore concrete arch bridges at their own peril. These bridges are just as important and worthy of preservation and attention as any other historic bridge.
Of the two bridges, the Main Street Bridge was by far the most unique, beautiful, and historic bridge. With its truly unique railings unlike anything ever encountered before, this bridge had a striking appearance. The railing posts blended into the spandrels of this open-spandrel deck arch bridge, forming a beautiful bridge with a high level of aesthetic quality. Decorative accents, speaking loudly of the art deco style, added greatly to the aesthetic qualities of the bridge. There was not another concrete arch bridge quite like this one. The demolition of this bridge revealed one final beautiful secret that a restoration project could have brought back: a beautiful red brick deck underneath the asphalt overlay. Needless to say, the loss of this bridge is devastating to the historic bridge community.
Of all the bridges in Columbus, this is the one highway bridge that should have been preserved. It would have been a good compromise, with all the new bridges being built and old bridges being demolished, to at least preserve this one bridge next to its replacement for pedestrian use.
The new bridge in this place is a modern artistic style bridge, with a "defying reality" appearance that has been a commonplace in modern bridge design in Europe and Asia for years now. While it may have a striking appearance, the new bridge has no hisrtric value and does not offer Columbus the culture and heritage that a preserved historic bridge would. It remains unclear why Columbus has decided to rid its downtown of all historic highway bridges, unlike other Ohio cities like Cleveland and Cincinatti. At least one bridge... indeed this bridge... should have been set aside for preservation. Only the railroad companies give reason for bridge enthusiasts to visit downtown Columbus today, as there are several impressive railroad truss bridges downtown. It should also be noted that the replacement bridge cost a staggering $60.1 Million. The initial planned cost was $44.1 Million, but cost overuns, design changes, etc added $10 Million to the cost. One of the poor but frequent excuses for not rehabilitating historic bridges is "hidden costs." However, the fact that the replacement bridge cost $10 Million extra shows that this happens with modern bridges too. Furthermore, at $60 Million to replace the bridge it would seem that even with severe deterioration, the historic bridge could have been rehabilitated for far less than that.
Original / Full Size Photos
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This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.
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