Monday, March 1, 2010

Bridge design time

In Cincinnati, there seems to be a discussion of what a new bridge over the Ohio River should look like. So far there are six design proposals -- one steel arch and five cable stay -- that are up for discussion.

As much as I like cable stay bridges, I must admit the arch design looks good to me. For one thing, the new bridge would be built next to an older steel truss bridge. From what I've seen from Flickr contact DewCon in La Crosse, Wisc., that arrangement looks mighty fine. Look at this photo and this one and this one and this one.

When I was in Japan nine years ago, I saw at least one cable stay bridge with slanted support towers. It did nothing for me.

The movers and shakers in the Cincinnati area want "an internationally acclaimed design" for their new bridge. If you read the comments section in the article, you'll see that some people don't care what the bridge looks like. They want something that's functional and will last a long time.

One more thing: The news article said the Ohio River at Cincinnati isn't wide enough to build a suspension bridge. I know of at least one suspension bridge over the Ohio -- the two-lane Simon Kenton Bridge at Maysville KY. And there used to be one at Portsmouth OH. I don't know if 

a) the designers didn't want to deal with a suspension bridge;

b) there isn't suitable anchorage on both shores for a suspension bridge in Cincinnati; or

c) a four-lane suspension bridge has a different set of design needs than a two-lane one

but there is at least one suspension bridge over the Ohio. I just wanted to get that in.


Gun Trash said...

Speaking of cable stays on the Ohio, that's what they're finally going to replace the 88 yr old Ironton-Russell highway bridge with. I travel that ancient span once a week and will admit that I always feel a bit of relief when I drive off it.

ohio981 said...

I get down to Ironton maybe once a month, and I must confess an unexplainable joy in driving one of the few pre-1950 steel truss bridges remaining around here. But then, it's maybe once a month. I understand your feelings. They're the same ones I had crossing the old 6th Street Bridge at Huntington. For about a month after I went under the bridge on a small boat in 1986 (I think) I refused to cross that bridge at all, considering the deterioration I saw under the asphalt.

My 10-year-old refuses to get on the Ironton-Russell Bridge at all when he's with me, so I don't cross it at those times.

I can understand why ODOT closed the sidewalk on the Ironton bridge, but I sort of wish they hadn't. I would like to walk across the old bridge the way I did the old Pomeroy bridge in October 2008, getting closeup photos before it was closed and demolished.

Gun Trash said...

I don't know how strictly they enforce that as I have seen people walking the bridge. I think they just ignore the signs, duck under the chain and go for it.

The bridge is home to a pair of peregrine falcons who show up every spring, hatch and then raise their young. We bicycle up from Worthington along the river and always take a break at the small city park under the bridge on the Russell side. We bring binoculars and watch them.

I can remember that bridge when it cost a quarter to cross. There was a small toll booth on the Ironton end of it. It is a historic bridge and it will seem strange it not being there but I'm sure most who commute over it will NOT miss it. :-)