Frederick Gottemoeller - Bridgescape LLC

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High Main Street Bridge over the Great Miami River High Main Street Bridge over the Great Miami River High Main Street Bridge over the Great Miami River High Main Street Bridge over the Great Miami River

High Main Street Bridge over the Great Miami River

Hamilton, OH

The old High-Main Street Bridge, built in 1914, was located on the former site of Fort Hamilton (active from 1791-1796) and was eligible for the National Registry of Historic Places. It adjoined the city's neo-Baroque War Memorial and its Art Deco City Hall. Its history and location within the city's historic district resulted in intense public interest in the decision to replace the bridge. Since the old bridge was crumbling beyond repair, the Ohio Department of Transportation agreed to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the city, the State Historic Preservation Officer and the Federal Highway Administration that required that the replacement bridge have a traditional appearance. It also established an advisory committee representing historic preservation groups that had to be consulted in the bridge design. The community's acceptance of this approach allowed the replacement to proceed.

Structurally the bridge is a haunched girder bridge with seven lines of continuous, custom precast, post-tensioned concrete girders. The bridge girders for each span were erected in three segments, two pier segments shared with the adjacent span and a drop-in center segment. Temporary hangers were used for the interior drop in segments, eliminating the need for temporary shoring towers and thus maintaining the hydraulic opening throughout construction. All drop-in segments were made the same length and depth to improve fabrication efficiency. Geometrical differences between the spans were made up in the deeper pier segments. Architectural features were cast into the fascia girders only. The cantilevered overlooks were cast in place using one reusable form.

The design includes decorative railings that allow views of the river. Bronze medallions that depict Hamilton's history are incorporated into the railings. Ornamental light fixtures that complement those used throughout the downtown historic district are paired at the overlooks. Both abutments include raised plazas with seating, flag poles and lighting. The west bank levee was regraded to create a pair of small amphitheaters flanking the west abutment plazas that provide visual and handicapped access to the river. They can also be used for civic celebrations, the annual art festival and the 4th of July fireworks. Since the completion of the bridge they have become the site of a civic sculptural garden.

Mr. Gottemoeller led the community involvement process, worked with the engineering team to develop the structural concept and designed all of the architectural and urban design features.

  • Length: 544 ft.  Width: 103 ft.
  • Main Spans: 78, 128’, 134’, 128’, 76’
  • Project Cost: $16.4 million.
  • Year of Completion: 2005
  • Design Engineer: Burgess & Niple
  • Owner: Ohio Department of Transportation

Photo Credits: Brad Feinkopf and Burgess & Niple