Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Report: Condition of City bridges improved

The condition of the City of Cincinnati's bridges improved and the County bridges it maintains remained steady in 2012, according to the Annual Bridge Condition Report recently released by the Department of Transportation and Engineering (DOTE).

Inspections gave the 64 City bridges a weighted average rating of 7.08, an increase from 6.97 in 2011. The 26 County bridges, maintained by the City through contractual agreement, were given a weighted average rating of 6.26.

A condition rating of 6 is considered "satisfactory".

DOTE also inspected an additional 136 bridges – including publicly-owned utility bridges and railroad bridges – which it doesn't maintain but in which the City has a public safety interest.

Problem bridge removed

One possible explanation for the improvement is the removal of the Waldvogel Viaduct from the City's bridge inventory.

Long the City's poorest performing bridge, with load restrictions and a condition rating of 3 ("serious"), the roadway was closed in November as part of a $68 million project to replace the deteriorating structure with an at-grade roadway and five new ramp bridges. The project is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Seven bridges were rated in "serious" condition, and 19 were given a condition rating of 4 – or "poor". The four County bridges rated "poor" include:

Limited funding

The 1988 Smale Commission Report on City Infrastructure recommended an annual City investment, in 1988 dollars, of $1 million in operating funds and $2.8 million in capital funds to maintain a deck area of approximately 1 million square feet.

This year, the only City has $820,000 in bridge funding allocated to inspect, maintain, repair and replace more than 1.275 million square feet in deck area. The City also receives $1 million from the County for the 26 County bridges within the City limits, an amount that hasn't changed since the late 1970s.

Even with the limited funding, DOTE has undertaken or will begin several major projects in 2012-2013: Leak mitigation and load testing on Second Street above the Riverfront Transit Center, repairs to bridge railing on the Gilbert Avenue pedestrian overpass and the Southside Avenue bridge in Sedamsville, waterproofing of the existing planters and slab repair over Fort Washington Way, concrete repairs to the Ida Street Viaduct in Mount Adams, removal of the remainder of the Baymiller Street pedestrian bridge in the West End/Fairview, and replacement of the Elmhurst pedestrian bridge over Torrence Parkway in O'Bryonville.

The complete annual report, prepared as required by state law, is available for review in the Clerk of Council's office, City Hall Room 308.

Previous reading on BC:
City approves application for Western Hills Viaduct funds (11/27/12)
Traffic changes to accommodate Waldvogel demolition (11/12/12)
Condition of City bridges remains stable (3/29/12)
Cincinnati bridge conditions decline slightly, but still sound (6/1/10)
2008 Cincinnati bridge condition report released (4/29/09)