ODOT Auctions Roche de Boeuf Bridge

Tue July 20, 2021 - Midwest Edition #15
Ohio Department of Transportation


A total of 5.627 acres in Wood and Lucas Counties, including the Roche de Boeuf bridge, were sold to Sarah Heidelberg for $6,500. Heidelberg plans to donate the land to a conservation group, according to the Sentinel Tribune.
(Ohio Department of Transportation photo)
A total of 5.627 acres in Wood and Lucas Counties, including the Roche de Boeuf bridge, were sold to Sarah Heidelberg for $6,500. Heidelberg plans to donate the land to a conservation group, according to the Sentinel Tribune. (Ohio Department of Transportation photo)

On June 30, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) auctioned the Roche de Boeuf bridge across the Maumee River and accompanying property, located in Middleton Township and the city of Waterville.

A total of 5.627 acres in Wood and Lucas counties, including the Roche de Boeuf bridge, were sold to Sarah Heidelberg for $6,500. Heidelberg plans to donate the land to a conservation group, according to the Sentinel Tribune.

The property consists of a 66-ft. wide strip of former interurban right-of-way extending from the intersection of State Route 65 and Forst Road in Wood County to the Anthony Wayne Trail, crossing over South River Road, in Lucas County.

The property, appraised at $100, was sold as-is/where-is in its present condition.

"Our duty to the public is not being met in two very significant ways with this bridge," said Patrick McColley, deputy director of ODOT District 2. "ODOT's mission is to safely move people and goods from place to place, and at one time, this bridge supported that mission. The bridge now, however, serves no purpose for transportation, and in its deteriorated state poses a risk to the public," he said.

The purchaser assumes all responsibility and liability for maintenance, management, securing, repair, replacement or removal of the bridge structure. ODOT will not retain any responsibilities or liabilities for or in connection with the bridge or associated property.

History of the Roche de Boeuf interurban bridge:

  • 1907 — Land bought by the Cincinnati & Lake Erie Railroad Company (formerly Lima and Toledo Traction Company).
  • 1908 — Interurban bridge constructed and used as an electric interurban trolley line.
  • 1937 — Tracks removed and bridge abandoned.
  • 1941 — Waterville bridge (Mechanic Street) collapses and the interurban bridge was used as a temporary automobile crossing due to shortage of steel during World War II.
  • 1943 — State of Ohio purchased the interurban bridge.
  • 1946 — Traffic returned to the Waterville bridge (Mechanic Street) with new truss.
  • 1972 — Interurban bridge listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1974 — Roche de Boeuf Bridge Historical Society made an unsuccessful effort to preserve the bridge.
  • 1983 — ODOT deemed the bridge unsafe for equipment traffic. The structure is no longer considered a bridge because it does not carry traffic and is not over vehicular traffic. It does not get a structure file number or yearly inspections like all other bridges owned by public agencies.
  • October 2017 — ODOT receives letter describing safety concerns for watercrafts.
  • January 2018 to August 2019 — ODOT, on behalf of the State of Ohio, initiates a project to improve safety. Stakeholders and surrounding property owners notified of safety improvement project. Land and environmental surveys occurred, data was collected and a feasibility study was developed to research alternatives by ODOT-hired consultants.
  • August 2019 to November 2019 – Alternatives analyzed from the feasibility study and project information presented and feedback requested from stakeholders and the public.



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