Wednesday, April 29, 2009

2008 Cincinnati bridge condition report released

The City of Cincinnati Department of Transportation and Engineering (DOTE) has released its 2008 Annual Bridge Condition Report, and the overwhelming majority exceed City standards for structural integrity.

The report, a requirement of the Ohio Revised Code, included the inspection of 225 bridges throughout the City of Cincinnati.

Of those bridges, 87 are maintained by DOTE. Sixty-one are considered City bridges and are funded by the City, while the other 26 bridges are funded by Hamilton County by are inspected and maintained by DOTE through a contractual agreement with the Hamilton County Engineer.

During inspection, DOTE staff rate the condition of all bridges from 0 (failed condition) to 9 (excellent condition).

DOTE's goal is to maintain all bridges at a weighted average bridge rating of 6 (satisfactory condition), indicating no structural deficiencies.

Railroad bridges, Interstate bridges, and bridges located on the state highway system are not included in the report.


The current weighted average bridge rating for City bridges is 7.21, a continued improvement since a bridge rating of 5.61 when the Smale Commission Report on local infrastructure was issued in 1988.

For county bridges, the weighted average rating is 6.29, an improvement over the 1988 figure of 5.46.

This figure has dropped nearly half a point since 2007, when responsibility for over half of the county bridges was transferred to ODOT. The transferred bridges were among those that were in the best condition.

Of all DOTE-maintained bridges, 83 are rated "fair" or better, with a rating of 5 or above.

Waldvogel rates 'poor'

One City bridge, the Waldvogel Viaduct, was rated as "poor" and is currently load-restricted.

Starting in 2010, a $66 million reconstruction will begin with the relocation of four railroad tracks south of the current roadway.

Road construction is expected to begin in 2011 and last for approximately two years.

DOTE has secured $49 million of the construction costs through federal discretionary funds, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) funds, and money from the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments.

Three county bridges also 'poor'

Three county bridges have also received a "poor" rating from the report: The Western Hills Viaduct, the Kennedy Avenue bridge over the Conrail tracks, and the Marburg Avenue bridge over the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks.

Planning for the $100 million+ replacement of the viaduct has begun, and public meetings are planned for this year.

DOTE is currently working to have the project included in ODOT's Brent Spence Bridge project, scheduled for 2015.

No funding has been identified for replacement of the Kennedy Avenue or the Marburg Avenue bridges.

More on funding

The Smale Commission Report recommended annual funding of $1 million in operating funds and $2.8 million in capital funds (1988 dollars) to maintain a deck area of 1 million square feet to a rating level of 6.

With a deck area of nearly 1.325 million square feet -- but with a higher-than-average rating -- the City has budgeted only $178,000 in operating funds and $1.1 million in capital funds for bridge maintenance.

An additional $1 million is received annually from Hamilton County.

The report finds that either funding levels will have to be boosted or outside funding leveraged to keep the condition of the DOTE's bridge inventory from declining.

The complete 2008 Annual Bridge Condition Report, which includes six-year plans for both City and county bridges and inspection reports for all 225 inspected bridges, is available in the Clerk of Council's office.

Previous reading on BC:
Cincinnati releases 2007 bridge report (4/8/08)