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ODOT to Begin Akron Bridge Replacement Project This Fall

Tue January 31, 2023 - Midwest Edition #3
Ohio DOT


The State Route (SR) 8 Bridge Replacement Project proposes to replace the existing 1,500 ft. long, 180-ft. high, blue painted steel bridge carrying SR 8 over various railroads, North Street and the Little Cuyahoga River.
(Ohio DOT rendering)
The State Route (SR) 8 Bridge Replacement Project proposes to replace the existing 1,500 ft. long, 180-ft. high, blue painted steel bridge carrying SR 8 over various railroads, North Street and the Little Cuyahoga River. (Ohio DOT rendering)
The State Route (SR) 8 Bridge Replacement Project proposes to replace the existing 1,500 ft. long, 180-ft. high, blue painted steel bridge carrying SR 8 over various railroads, North Street and the Little Cuyahoga River.
(Ohio DOT rendering) Construction of the $150 million project is expected to start in fall 2023 and end in 2028.
(Ohio DOT rendering)

Department of Transportation (ODOT) is moving forward with a major project vital to Akron's transportation system. The State Route (SR) 8 Bridge Replacement Project proposes to replace the existing 1,500‐ft. long, 180-ft. high, blue‐painted steel bridge carrying SR 8 over various railroads, North Street and the Little Cuyahoga River. Two new side-by-side bridges will replace the one existing bridge. Construction of the $150 million project is expected to start in fall 2023 and end in 2028.

Preliminary information on the complex project was introduced at public meetings in 2015 and 2016. ODOT provided a project update in 2018 with more details being known on project design/construction and environmental impacts.

Project design was essentially complete when statewide funding priorities changed due to the pandemic-related economic shortfalls. As a result, project construction was delayed due to lack of funding. However, ODOT recently secured project funding and the SR 8 Bridge Replacement Project is now being finalized for construction.

The existing bridge has three lanes in each direction. The new bridges will have four lanes in each direction to improve traffic flow. For SR-8 north, the northbound entrance ramp from Perkins Street will essentially be extended across the bridge to become the exit ramp for the Glenwood Avenue interchange. For SR-8 south, the southbound entrance ramp from Glenwood Avenue will extend across the bridge to the exit ramp for the Perkins Street interchange.

Maintaining traffic flow on SR 8 during construction is important to minimize impacts for the traveling public. SR 8 traffic will continue to travel on the existing bridge while the first new bridge is built to the west. All six lanes of SR 8 traffic will then be shifted onto the new bridge. The existing SR 8 bridge will be removed, and the second new bridge will be constructed in the same location. It is expected that SR 8 traffic will be maintained throughout the duration of the project. However, short term ramp closures may be needed at the Perkins Street and Glenwood Avenue interchanges.

Noise walls will be constructed along SR 8 at four locations:

  • on the west side of SR 8 between Glenwood Avenue and Lookout Park;
  • on the east side of SR 8 between the former Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center and Celebration Church;
  • on the west side of SR 8 between Adams Street and Perkins Street; and
  • on the east side of SR 8 between Adams Street and Perkins Street.

Freedom Trail is located under the existing bridge. It is expected to be affected by access road construction resulting in two separate six-month closures of the trail and other short-term closures or restrictions. A trail detour will be provided.

ODOT partnered with Summit Metro Parks and the city of Akron to minimize impacts to Freedom Trail users during construction and to enhance the trail with permanent improvements, including a new paved connector trail spur to link Perkins Street and Freedom Trail. Also, a scenic overlook feature will be constructed under the new bridges behind Freedom Trail.

Aesthetics is an important component of designing project features, such as the delta-style bridge piers, lighting, fencing, a unique approach feature, the Freedom Trail overlook and the highway side of the noise walls. The project team has had many conversations with numerous local stakeholders regarding the aesthetic features because they recognize the bridges will be a prominent community feature for decades to come.

The bridge was constructed in 1953 to provide a grade separation for the Akron Expressway (now SR-8) as it crossed over the Little Cuyahoga River, five railroad corridors, the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal and East North Street. To extend the life of the bridge, numerous maintenance activities have been performed. While the bridge is safe for travel and routinely inspected, it continues to deteriorate, is 69 years old and needs to be replaced. Maintenance activities will continue to be performed as needed until the bridge is replaced.

SR-8 at the bridge is a six-lane urban freeway that carries more than 115,000 vehicles per day. It is a vital component of the transportation infrastructure in northeast Ohio and provides a critical link for commuters and commerce to the government, medical, university and other commercial facilities in downtown Akron and beyond.




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