Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Bridge faces swan song



By Liz Oakes
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP - Hamilton County's "Singing Bridge" may soon be just a silent memory.

And some fear an eyesore will replace it.

[img]
Denny Mason of Colerain Township has hopes that the old steel span New Baltimore Bridge over the great Miami River connecting Colerain and Crosby Townships could be saved for use as part of a pedestrian path and river access.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
This summer, the county plans to tear down the 89-year-old steel truss bridge, one of the last reminders of the devastating 1913 flood that washed away many crossings over the Great Miami River. The bridge was built after the flood.

The 465-foot-long span, called the "Singing Bridge" by some locals because of the sound tires make on the metal grating, connects Colerain Township and the hamlet of New Baltimore in Crosby Township.

One of fewer than 10 similarly designed truss bridges in Ohio and the last in the county, according to state preservationists, its age and architecture make it eligible for the National Historic Register.

The old Blue Rock Road bridge is also dangerous, maintains Stephen Mary, an engineer with Hamilton County.

"It's not safe for vehicular traffic and it needs a lot of work," he said.

To repair it would cost over a million dollars, Mary said, and "you'd still have a load-limited bridge that didn't meet criteria."

The county-owned crossing closed about two years ago when a new Blue Rock Road bridge opened a few miles upstream.

Some fear the empty site will become a graveyard of worn-out couches, old tires and other debris.

"We have a terrible time with (trash) all up and down there," said Denny Mason, who's lived on Blue Rock Road for 30 years and sat on a Colerain Township committee that has researched saving the bridge. "The amount of junk that's dumped (along the river) is just unbelievable."

The public will have until June 22 to submit comments on plans for the New Baltimore bridge. They can be sent to Stephen Mary, bridge engineer, Hamilton County Engineer's Office, 223 W. Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45215.

E-mail loakes@enquirer.com

If you go

What: Public hearing on New Baltimore bridge.

Time: 4:30-7:30 p.m., June 8.

Location: Crosby Township Senior Center, 8910 Willey Road.

Information: (513) 738-1440.




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