This is a beautiful concrete arch bridge. Sadly it has been allowed to deteriorate. As a result of this unsightly black netting has been placed under portions of the bridge to catch the pieces of concrete as they fall off. There also are signs warning people who wander under the bridge of falling concrete.
Alfred M. Felgate, the county engineer, was the designer of the bridge.
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory
The bridge carries a 4-lane road and sidewalks over a river and a park in Rocky River.
The 8 span, 860'-long, four-ribbed, high-rise open spandrel arch bridge has concrete balustrades, bracketed and cantilevered deck sections for the sidewalks, spandrel columns with arched caps, and is supported on concrete abutments and piers. There are massive pilasters at the bridge ends terminating in large pylons with pedestrian refuges.
Some loss of original fabric from deterioration.
Summary of Significance
"High Significance. The 1925 Hilliard Road Bridge ranks as a well-proportioned, architectonic example of the open spandrel arch type, reflecting both the finest qualities of the type and the attention to aesthetic detail characteristic of the work of the Cuyahoga County engineers office. The eligible recommendation remains appropriate. 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 example ranks as one of the fine aesthetic statements in the county and state.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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