Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Work to demolish and replace the Brighton Approach begins next week

A rendering of the replacement for the Brighton Approach. Like the original, the replacement will have two lanes for traffic plus a wider sidewalk.
City of Cincinnati
A rendering of the replacement for the Brighton Approach. Like the original, the replacement will have two lanes for traffic plus a wider sidewalk.

It's not the Roebling, the Brent Spence or the Western Hills Viaduct. But the Brighton Approach certainly has its fans.

Despite being a landmark in Cincinnati's urban core, crews next week will begin the process of demolishing the bridge so it can be replaced.

City of Cincinnati Supervising Structural Engineer Brandon Lecrone says the bridge over Central Parkway is tied to some interesting Cincinnati history.

"The construction of the bridge was related to the closing down of the old (Miami and Erie) canal and the now-abandoned subway," he says.

The city finished the bridge in 1926, just after it had filled the old canal with subway tunnels and built Central Parkway overtop.

RELATED: Brent Spence Bridge groundbreaking could begin soon

If you'd been having cars drive over you for almost a century, you'd be tired, too. With a score of four on the nine-point rubric the state of Ohio uses to rate how structurally sound a bridge is, Lecrone says the Brighton Approach is simply at the end of its lifespan.

"The bridge has undergone no less than three fairly major rehabilitation and repair projects during its life," he says. "It's getting to where the remaining concrete is just not sound enough to support another rehabilitation or round of repairs."

After demolition work is done, crews will begin work on the replacement bridge.

Lecrone says public input convinced the city to stick close to the aesthetics of the original as it worked on the design of the replacement. The concrete work will be quite similar, Lecrone says, and there are other details Brighton Approach fans will find familiar.

"We're actually reusing the light fixtures that are currently on the bridge," he says. "We're just going to refurbish and repaint those."

Functionally, the bridge will be much the same — one lane of traffic each direction. The sidewalk on the new bridge will be slightly wider than it currently is.

RELATED: What's in that shaft on the Roebling Suspension Bridge?

While crews are working on the Brighton Approach, Lecrone says they'll also be doing some preservation work on the subway tunnels underneath. The tunnels support about half of the current bridge, including the south ramp to the approach. The new bridge will have a lighter ramp that won't put as much weight on the tunnels

All told, construction should take about 18 months, Lecrone says.

During that time, traffic on Central Parkway will often be reduced to one lane each direction. Bike lanes should remain open for all but one later portion of the project, during which time there will be a detour route for cyclists.

During a few parts of the project, Central Parkway will need to be closed to traffic. The city says it will do this during weekends. The first closure will happen the weekend of June 1 and 2, with others coming toward the end of the project in 2025.

Nick has reported from a nuclear waste facility in the deserts of New Mexico, the White House press pool, a canoe on the Mill Creek, and even his desk one time.