8th St. Viaduct

The present 8th St. Viaduct was built in 1928 as a replacement to the original built in 1910.  The original had a 20ft. wide deck and was similar in appearance to the Harrison Ave. Viaduct.  Although it figured into plans for the massive Union Terminal project, the present viaduct was designated a state highway and was built by the state of Ohio.  The "new" viaduct was built entirely of reinforced concrete, with a 4-lane 40ft. wide deck, and had the first examples of entrance and exit ramps in the Cincinnati area.   These two ramps had no merging lanes with the deck's through lanes, so cars using the entrance ramp presumably stopped at the top of the ramp before joining traffic, and those using the exit ramp had to slow almost completely before turning off the viaduct.  The ramps descended parallel on opposite sides of the viaduct and joined into one bi-directional ramp directly underneath the viaduct deck before reaching ground level.  The ramps were closed to traffic decades ago, and the lower 2-lane portion served as a sloped parking lot for Spinney Field for several decades.  The Bengals moved into a new practice facility in summer 2000, and the remainder of the viaduct's ramps were dismantled in summer 2002.

[Larry Stulz  photo]

Aside from the abandoned entrance and exit ramps, the most distinctive feature of the 8th St. Viaduct is its western end, where it grazes buildings to either side.  These warehouses and commercial buildings predate the viaduct, some dating from the 1870's.  In about ten examples, upper floor windows of these buildings were turned into doors, and short connections were made with the viaduct.   It is unclear as to whether building owners or the state paid for these connections, but judging by the railings it appears that they were all built at the same time as the viaduct.  Along with the abandoned entrance and exit ramps, these walkways are the only places where the viaduct's original railings survive.  The original railings did not meet later safety standard and so were replaced by typical expressway concrete barriers.

Here are examples of the upper floor connections to adjacent buildings.  Notice the short section
of original railing.

In the 1930's a tunnel through Price Hill was proposed for the viaduct's western end, connecting 8th St. with Glenway Ave. further up the hill.  This tunnel was never built but the viaduct still became an important part of the city's road network.  The once impressive viaduct has in recent decades sunk into a mild state of disrepair but is still sees heavy automobile and bus use.

In 2008 the viaduct was closed for major rehabilitation work. The bridge over railroad tracks at the western end of the structure is being replaced and the ramp between it and lower 8th St. has been permanently closed.

8th St. Viaduct Photos