Hundreds of Hamilton, Ohio, citizens gathered in May 2007 to dedicate the new High-Main Street Bridge over the Great Miami River. The 500-foot bridge is a vital link between the city’s downtown districts, carrying more than 37,000 vehicles per day. It also replaces a structure that had great significance to the community.
Built in 1914, the former bridge could no longer support Hamilton’s growing urban population and was projected to exceed capacity by 2020. Due to increased traffic demand and deteriorating structural conditions, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) enlisted B&N to prepare construction plans for its replacement.
The new structure is a five-span, spliced precast and post-tensioned concrete girder bridge that includes pedestrian walkways, bicycle paths, balconies on both sides and lighting at night. Increasing the total lanes from four to six accommodates both existing and projected traffic volumes, and improves overall traffic flow.
Historic Look for a Modern Structure
Prior to its demolition in 2005, the structure had historic significance for the community. Located on the former site of Fort Hamilton (active from 1791-1796), the bridge was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
The bridge’s history, location within the city’s historic district, and strong public interest at the early stages of preliminary design for the replacement bridge resulted in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The MOA established fundamental aesthetic guidelines and mandated consultation with local historic groups in the development of the new bridge design.
As a result, the bridge design maintains many characteristics of the former structure, including a five-span concrete arch, metal decorative railings that offer views of the river, and light fixtures that complement those used throughout the downtown historic district. Decorative medallions that depict Hamilton’s history with the river also were incorporated into the design.
A Bridge to the Future
The City of Hamilton’s July 4th celebration, themed “A Bridge to the Future,” honored the completion of the project. As the main thoroughfare linking the city’s business and historic districts across the Great Miami River, the High-Main Street Bridge is key to continued economic development in the downtown area.
Perhaps downtown business owner Pam Payne, says it best. “We’re not just building a bridge; we’re building a stronger community.”
B&N’s Jon Brunot, PE, served as project manager.