By Mollie Lair
City of Cincinnati
The City of Cincinnati has been awarded a $127 million federal grant for the Western Hills Viaduct replacement project.
“This project is going to change the face of our city for a generation. Reconnecting our neighborhoods to the jobs and everyday destinations they depend on is essential to our growth as a city that works for everyone,” Mayor Aftab Pureval said. “The Biden-Harris Administration continues to prove that they have the backs of Cincinnatians, and I am extremely grateful for the Department of Transportation and our state and local leaders for collaborating to make this possible.”
“This is an exciting step toward creating connectivity and access that will benefit all Cincinnatians, especially Black and Brown communities that were disproportionately affected during the original construction. John Brazina and his staff have done an excellent job keeping this project moving. I applaud DOTE for its steadfast and continued work,” City Manager Sheryl Long said.
“This is a great win for us,” said John Brazina, the City’s Director of Transportation & Engineering. “It sets us up for successfully completing the project. We’re very grateful to the Federal Highway Administration for its support.”
Construction of the new bridge is expected to begin by 2025.
The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are leading a joint effort to replace the 90-year-old viaduct, which connects to I-75 and carries 55,000 vehicles a day over the Mill Creek Valley and a large, active railroad yard.
“This catalytic investment will advance the replacement of the Western Hills Viaduct project and will create a safer connection to the western side of the Mill Creek for over 55,000 drivers,” said Hamilton County Engineer Eric Beck. “This is a beautiful example of how government is supposed to work; the City, County, State and our federal government officials from all sides of the aisle, as well as the voters, came together to push this project forward.”
Site preparation began earlier this year with the demolition of the first of six buildings in the footprint of the new bridge, which will be built 50 feet to the south of the existing viaduct. Preparation includes the relocation of a Duke Energy substation and transmission line, railroad track relocations and other utility relocations, and construction of foundational supports for roadway ramps on the west end of the project footprint.
The project team also must finalize detailed design and engineering plans for the bridge in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Transportation’s project to replace and reconfigure the I-75 interchange, which is in preliminary design.
The new bridge will extend nearly a half mile over CSX Transportation’s Queensgate Yard. The existing viaduct will remain in place and continue to carry traffic until its replacement is finished.
The full project, which includes the I-75 interchange and removal of the existing viaduct, is expected to be complete by 2030.
For more information on the Western Hills Viaduct, visit www.cincinnati-oh.gov/whv.