5th St. Viaduct

The 5th St. Viaduct opened in 1938, connecting ColumbiaParkway with 5th St. at the eastern edge of downtown Cincinnati. The 1/2 mile long viaduct descends on a steady grade from east to westacross the Deer Creek Valley.  It travels in an elongated S-shape,with the central section diagonal to the street grid below.  The pierswere built as not to conflict with the streets below, and so are diagonalto the viaduct itself.  Along with the off-set piers, the long centralspans necessitated complicated arched trusses which are unique to the Cincinnatiarea and are the viaduct's most distinctive feature.  The deck has4 automobile lanes and a pedestrian walkway along the south edge.

Originally the viaduct crossed Eggleston Ave., numerousrailroad tracks, and a mess of typical city streets, but the area is virtuallyunrecognizable today, having been replaced by expressways and parking lots. The 3rd St. Viaductwas built nearby in 1959, connecting with Columbia Parkway underneath theeastern end of the 5th St. Viaduct.   I-471wasbuilt under both viaducts in 1977, and numerous ramps were built connectingthe viaducts to the new expressway.  A looped ramp was built connectingthe 5th St. Viaduct's westbound lanes with I-471 south and another wasbuilt connecting the viaduct's westbound traffic with I-471 north's 6thSt. exit.  Meanwhile a third ramp was built from I-471 north to the3rd St. Viaduct westbound -- passing through two legs of the 5th St. Viaduct.  Despite the construction of  I-471 beneath, no original sections ofthe viaduct were demolished and rebuilt to accommodate the 6-lane expresswaybeneath.  So the 5th St. Viaduct today appears almost the same asthe day it opened.

In anticipation of the FortWashington Way  reconstruction, the viaductwas closed for major repairs on January 5th, 1998, and reopened to trafficin July of that year.  The deck was entirely rebuilt, the trusseswere painted green (they had previously been painted brown), and the viaduct'soriginal art deco features were restored, including replicas of the originalconcrete railings, decorative concrete work, and light fixtures. A high chain link fence (technically called a "vandal screen") was installedalong the viaduct's pedestrian walk as well.

5thSt. Viaduct photos

Back to Main