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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

DETROIT-ROCKY RIVER BRIDGE - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The DETROIT-ROCKY RIVER BRIDGE (1910-80) was the 4th bridge built at that location connecting Detroit Rd. between LAKEWOOD and ROCKY RIVER. It was designed by civil engineer Alfred Felgate, with WILBUR WATSON† serving as consulting engineer. Construction, which cost $225,000, began in Sept. 1908, and the bridge was dedicated on 11 Oct. 1910. The bridge was an early example of the 2-ribbed, open-spandrel type. Upon completion, it briefly held the record as the largest masonry arch in America, at 280'. The bridge's overall length was 708', and its width was 60'. The central span alone weighed 16,000 tons. Remarkable for its time, the concrete on the span was not reinforced with steel. The concrete mixture contained an aggregate of sand and stones, some the size of fairly large boulders. The bridge's concrete columns and deck were of reinforced concrete. During construction, steel-arch centering, designed by Watson, was used for the first time instead of timbers for the concrete forms. Many area residents at first thought the bridge too big, but by the mid-1920s, rush-hour traffic jams on the 4-lane span were commonplace. In the 1960s, deterioration of the Rocky River Bridge became a serious problem. Construction began on a new bridge just south of the old in 1978. A modern haunched, plated girders bridge with concrete piers, it was designed by Adache-Ciuni-Lynn Associates and built by the Natl. Engineering & Contracting Co. The new bridge opened in Oct. 1980 at a cost of $4 million. The old bridge was demolished by dynamite, but the west piers remained intact to form the foundation for a new office building, the Bridge Bldg.

Watson, Sara, and Wolf, John. Bridges of Cleveland (1981).

Last Modified: 15 Jul 1997 02:39:11 PM

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