This bridge is a long and impressive multi-span steel deck arch bridge. An uncommon bridge type, steel deck arch bridges are typically utilized in between steep canyons, and so are in many cases single span, making this multi-span example over a broad river valley even more unusual. The bridge was also technologically noteworthy when built as it used welds in areas where rivets had traditionally been used. Rivets are still in many places on this bridge, but the use of welds in some areas was groundbreaking at the time. The bridge was designed with a nod to Art Deco style architecture. Some of this has been altered when the deck was widened, but the design of the railing and pillars remain to display this architectural influence.
Above: Historical photo showing bridge construction.
Above: Historical photo showing original deck layout.
Above: Historical photo showing previous bridge at this location.
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory
The bridge carries a striped, 4-lane arterial street over a park and the picturesque Rocky River valley and Metroparks' Rocky River Reservation.
The two-hinge steel deck arch bridge has four spans of 237' to 256'-long. The end spans are asymmetrical. The two arch ribs are plate girders composed of 34'-long segments with butt-welded joints. Particular attention was paid to the detailing, including the pattern of the overlapping plates and the rivet heads. Such detail is remarkable. The original depth of the deck section cantilever has been significantly increased.
Rehabilitated, 1988-90. The cantilevered deck section has been significantly increased in the mid-1980s. This resulted in the elimination of the original pylons that accented the railings and added scale tat the roadway level. Modern drainage pipes mar original aesthetics.
Summary of Significance
The 1935 Lorain Road Viaduct is a technologically significant example of a two-hinge steel arch. The use of butt-welding cut down significantly on the use of rivets in the bridge's design and was considered among its most technologically significant features since it was an early use of welding in a major long-span bridge in the nation and by the Ohio State Highway Department. Cleveland's Lincoln Electric Co., a major promoter and manufacturer of arc welding equipment, assisted the Ohio state highway department's bridge bureau with the design. Built by the Lowensohn Construction Co. and the Ft. Pitt Bridge Works. It was selected as the most beautiful steel bridge in its category by the American Institute of Steel Construction in 1935, a well-deserved recognition. It remains one of the most important aesthetic bridges in the state and region.
This is the finest example of its type and design in the state and region.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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