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West Broad Street Bridge

Photos 

Photo taken by Calvin Sneed in April 2009

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BH Photo #153597

Map 

Street View 

Brief History 

Written by Sherman Cahal

The first iteration of a bridge across the Scioto River in Columbus along the National Road, later US 40, came in November 1816 when Lucas Sullivant, the founder of Franklinton, opened an uncovered wood bridge.

It replaced a ferry that had been operated by Jacob Armitage since 1812. Finding it too inconvenient, the state authorized the construction of a bridge over the Scioto in February 1815. Shortly after Sullivantís death in 1824, his son, Joseph Sullivant, obtained the rights to the crossing but it collapsed in a flood in 1832.

In 1832, the city of Columbus acquired the rights to the bridge for $10,000 and the Army Corps of Engineers built a new two-lane covered wooden bridge from 1832 to 1834. It was part of a plan to construct the National Road, which was being extended westward from Wheeling, West Virginia to St. Louis.

Iron rod bracing was added later to strengthen the crossing but ultimately the bridge was replaced in 1884 with a stronger iron through truss bridge. The bridge was heavily damaged in a flood in 1913 but was hastily repaired.

A closed-spandrel seven-span arch bridge was constructed from April 1918 to October 1921. Designed by Braun-Fleming-Knollman & Prior of Columbus and built by Carmichael-Cryder of St. Louis, the new crossing cost $628,093.

The Renaissance Revival styled bridge featured a balustrade made from sandstone and urn-shaped balusters. It carried six lanes of traffic, two of which were streetcar tracks, and two pedestrian sidewalks.

The crossing was struck by lightening on August 21, 1947, requiring extensive repairs to the spandrel walls.

The West Broad Street Bridge was structurally deteriorating by 1982. The county retained Jones & Stuckey to perform a detailed visual inspection, which was then followed up with a preliminary evaluation with the Ohio Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration. It was found that the outer portions of the bridge from the inner spandrel wall out were distressed and in poor condition.

Concrete corings were taken in 1984, 1986 and 1988, and it was determined that rehabilitation of the bridge would not be feasible.

A closed-spandrel, five-span replacement was constructed in 1992. Designed by Burgess & Niple of Columbus, it features shallower arches than the previous iteration.

Facts 

Overview
Closed-spandrel arch bridge over Scioto River on West Broad Street ( U.S. 40 National Road)
Location
Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio
Design
5 span, closed spandrel arch bridge
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 164.1 ft.
Total length: 672.9 ft.
Deck width: 69.9 ft.
Also called
Discovery Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.96176, -83.00523   (decimal degrees)
39°57'42" N, 83°00'19" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/328732/4425438 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Southwest Columbus
Inventory numbers
ODOT 2502577 (Ohio Dept. of Transportation structure file number)
BH 43964 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 05/2015)
Deck condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Appraisal: Functionally obsolete
Sufficiency rating: 79.1 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2010)
15,990

Update Log 

  • March 28, 2017: Essay added by Sherman Cahal
  • September 23, 2015: Photo imported by Dave King
  • February 24, 2014: Updated by Sandor Gulyas: Added alternative name for bridge
  • July 10, 2010: New Street View added by Calvin Sneed
  • July 8, 2010: Updated by Bill Eichelberger: Added GPS coords
  • January 30, 2010: Added by Calvin Sneed

Sources