C&O Bridge / Clay Wade BaileyBridge

The C&O (1929) and Clay Wade Bailey Bridges standimmediately next to one another (pictured above), and share two piers inthe middle of the river.  Today's Clay Wade Bailey Bridge opened in1974 along the alignment of the original C&O Bridge (1889), and stilluses one of its original main span piers.  It has a 675ft. main spanidentical to the adjacent "new" C&O.  The previously shared 1889/1929southern pier was reused and the 2nd C&O's northern pier was extendedwest, creating a 1929/1974 shared pier. The old C&O's northern mainspan pier was dismantled, allowing a clear 675ft. navigation channel beneath. As determined by the re-use of the 1889/29 pier, the deck was wide enoughfor three but not four lanes, resulting in a center variable-directionlane.  The bridge was named after Clay Wade Bailey, a prominant Kentuckynewspaper reporter.  The "Clay Wade Bailey Bridge" has since causedconfusion for those familiar with bridge terminology, since it is not abailey bridge.

C&O and Clay Wade Bailey Bridges viewed from Covington.The
Brent Spence Bridge is visible to the left.   (Larry Stulz  photo)

A new exit ramp on the bridge's northern approach wasbuilt recently in summer 2000. The ramp connects with the top deck of thenew bi-level 2nd St., which was built as the eastbound feeder road forthe reconstructed FortWashington Way. The Clay Wade Bailey Bridge is now more useful andshould see increased traffic. Ramp construction destroyed the old staircasefrom the bridge's pedestrian walkway to Pete Rose Way, but a pedestrianwalkway was built along the new 2nd St. ramp.  The walkway is a greatplace to watch the Cincinnati Bengals practice, since the team opened theirnew practice facility for the 2000 season immediately east of the northapproach.

The Clay Wade Bailey Bridge's variable-direction lanewas seen as a potential single track light rail crossing when initial planswere made in in 1997.  However after study the single-track bottleneckput it out of consideration and so the bridge will remain automobile only.There was also a brief investigation for use of the busy C&O tracksin a shared use arrangement, but this was eliminated as well. The currentplan for light rail is to build a new double track bridge adjacent to eitherthe eastern or western side of the existing C&O and Clay Wade Baileybridges, at an estimated cost of $40 million. If this comes to pass, threebridges will be sandwiched together in a wild jumble 130 years in the making.

RecentClay Wade Bailey Bridge Photos

News Archive
7/11/01 Cincinnati Enquirer  Witnessessay woman held kids over bridge's railing

Back to Main