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Cleveland Replacing Troubled Fulton Road Bridge

By: Linda Hutchinson

Right of way acquisition and utility relocation is underway in preparation for the replacement of the Fulton Road Bridge in Cleveland, OH.

The existing bridge was built in 1932.

By unanimous conclusion, the Technical Advisory Committee selected Alternative A, which is the Contemporary Concrete Arch.

Robert C. Klaiber Jr., Cuyahoga County engineer, and Baker and Associates, held “Open House” style meetings to allow the public to view and comment on aesthetic treatments for the replacement bridge.

An interactive Web site has been in place to engage the public in selecting the new structure type.

The existing Fulton Road Bridge is a highly visible landmark.

Its deck rises approximately 100 ft. above Cleveland MetroParks Zoo and is located between Fulton Parkway on the south and Denison Avenue on the north.

The bridge “consists of six 210-foot concrete open-spandrel cast-in-place deck arch spans and concrete approach spans at the north and south ends of the bridge. Four lines of arch ribs support the deck, which is a flat-slab that is integral with the spandrel columns. Piers at the ends of each arch rib are supported on individual pedestal footings, which bear directly on rock,” according to the official Web site.

It was originally designed to carry four lanes of traffic over the Zoo, Big Creek, John Nagy Boulevard, and the Norfolk Southern and CSX railroad lines.

Replacement of the bridge was deemed the most cost-effective solution after conducting a comprehensive study and several emergency repairs.


It was determined a combination of structural age and long-term exposure to deicing chemicals have made the bridge a poor candidate for rehabilitation.

In addition to repairs to the bridge, numerous protective structures have been erected over the Zoo in recent years to protect the public from falling concrete.

According to Jeff Broadwater, of Michael Baker Jr. Inc., bidding on construction of the replacement bridge is scheduled for August 2006.

“The bridge is scheduled to be completed and open to traffic around November ’08, with remaining miscellaneous construction complete in spring ’09.”

Broadwater believes the major obstacles to overcome will be “coordinating [the] replacement bridge with Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, city of Cleveland, Norfolk Southern and CSX railroads, since the structure crosses all of these.”

Traffic on the bridge is expected to be closed in fall of 2006, and to remain closed until November 2008.

The primary detour route for Fulton Road will be Memphis Avenue and Denison Avenue to the Pearl Road Bridge across the Valley.

The replacement bridge is expected to cost approximately $50 million.

Considerable effort has been undertaken to ensure the new design is aesthetically pleasing. CEG