Marburg Avenue Bridge reaches 'major construction milestone' as steel beams installed

CINCINNATI -- In what officials are calling a "major construction milestone," crews began installing the steel beams along the new Marburg Avenue Bridge, a major connector between Cincinnati's Hyde Park and Oakley neighborhoods.

Construction to replace the existing, 86-year-old span that connects Hyde Park and Oakley via a three-lane span, began in March and is slated to extend into October, according to officials with the Department of Transportation and Engineering. Federal bridge standards rated the Marburg bridge as "structurally deficient," triggering the replacement.

While work in the vicinity will continue into October, the bridge is set to open mid-September.

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Between Thursday, July 20 and Friday, July 21, crews will install 57 beams before work can begin on the driving concrete surface, sidewalks, railings, curbs, approaching pavement and sidewalks, and reconstruction of traffic signals, among other finishing touches.

The $2.1 million project is progressing on schedule and within budget, said City Manager Harry Black in a memo issued to Mayor John Cranley and City Council members Thursday.

The project caused some tension in the neighborhoods, both highly residential, due to some disagreement about how best to detour traffic that would otherwise use Marburg Avenue to move through the area. Roughly 14,000 vehicles crossed the bridge each day, according to Carl Uebelacker, former long-time Hyde Park Neighborhood Council Board member.

"I think the city needs to go back to the drawing board," Uebelacker told the city's transportation committee in February.

Pedestrians in the area also found themselves having to find new routes.

DOTE Director Michael Moore explained during a February committee hearing that there was no way around the closure, given the way the crews will need to configure the construction zone. The only space that could accommodate the heavy equipment needed to construct the bridge will mean having to hoist large concrete slabs up and over the bridge, Moore said.

Pat LaFleur reports on transportation for WCPO. Connect with him on Twitter (@pat_laFleur).

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