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Here's What A New Western Hills Viaduct Could Look Like

new western hills viaduct
Courtesy of the City of Cincinnati
A view of the new Western Hills Viaduct, looking west.

Cincinnati city engineers on Thursday unveiled the recommended design for replacing the Western Hills Viaduct. The recommendation comes after two years of studying the costs, maintenance issues and aesthetics of six different bridge types.

Design consultant T.Y. Lin International of San Francisco has recommended a single deck replacement with eight travel lanes – four in each direction – and protected, multi-use path on the south side and a sidewalk on the north side.

It will be built approximately 50 feet south of the existing viaduct, which will remain open through construction.

The cost of replacing the viaduct is $335 million. Hamilton County and Cincinnati leaders have secured about $125 million and are looking for more funding sources. That includes grants and proceeds from the Hamilton County Transit tax.

Construction could begin next year, with completion expected by 2028.

"Determining the structure type is an important milestone in the life of our project," said Bill Shefcik, Western Hills Viaduct project manager for Cincinnati's Department of Transportation and Engineering. "We are planning to put out a bid for a general contractor next year to begin initial site preparation."

That preparation includes demolition of the former Q Laboratories building located at Harrison and State avenues in South Fairmount.

The double-decker viaduct was first built in the early 1930s to cross the Mill Creek Valley. Today it's a major connector between the West Side and I-75, carrying an estimated 55,000 vehicles a day. Engineers say it is "reaching the end of its useful life" thanks to "widespread and significant deterioration."

The virtual meeting was streamed on YouTube and is available for viewing.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.