Western Hills Viaduct safe as cracked up to be?

Posted at 8:03 PM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-18 08:44:40-05

CINCINNATI – Yes, that's concrete falling off the Western Hills Viaduct.

No, it's not in danger of collapsing anytime soon, officials say.

But it's unsettling  - even scary - to drivers who cross the 93-year-old viaduct to see plates covering cracks and gaping holes. And more than 140,000 cars and trucks travel the nearby section of Interstate 75 every day.

One driver is a freaked out by what she sees on the way to work. She posted the photo above on Facebook and wrote: “Why are people allowed to drive on this? It’s crazy. Hate driving under it too (sic) work everyday.”

We took her concerns to Sharon Smigielski, ODOT spokesperson for District 8. Smigielski  said the bridge is structurally sound and is not a danger to drivers.  

“The plates are there to capture any concrete so it doesn’t fall onto the vehicles passing underneath it,"
 Smigielski said.

ODOT inspects all bridges once a year, including this one. The one thing they weren’t  able to tell us is what the long-term solution is.

Are they going to patch the crumbling sections, or are these plates the long-term solution?

A three-year study is under way to determine whether to repair or replace the viaduct, according to the city's Department of Transportation and Engineering website.

The website notes that the DOTE made a presentation to city council on May 28, 2014, but there's no record of any action since then.