Friday, May 11, 2001

Powers Street bridge opens today

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The residents of South Cumminsville will get back their bridge on Powers Street today.

        A 10:30 ceremony will reopen the $1 million, 120-foot bridge at the intersection of Powers and Herron streets.

        “This bridge is part of our beautification plans in South Cumminsville,” said Jack McWilliams, a former resident who was president of the community council that started the move to get the bridge closed and repaired.

        ""But more important than its beauty is its safety.”

        Mr. McWilliams, president of South Cumminsville Community Council from 1979-1999, lived on nearby Tappan Street and traveled the bridge daily.

        “You never know how safe a bridge is,” he said. “It was at the point that it was not safe to drive heavy equipment and fire trucks over the bridge.

        “We are glad to know now that if there is a fire, the trucks can safely cross the bridge.”

        The Powers Street Bridge was built in 1910 to provide access to the communities on the west side of West Fork Creek at the time they were being annexed to Cincinnati.

        In August of 2000, Richard Szekeresh, city structural engineer, posted the bridge for 24 tons, 60 percent of the current legal highway truck load of 40 tons.

        He said the weight restriction was necessary be cause of deterioration.

        “We took out the old bridge and built the new one to meet the 40 tons legal standards of the freeway bridges,” Mr. Szekeresh said. “We widened the lanes on the bridge to 12 feet each and we smoothed out the surface to make driving easier.”

        Marilyn Evans, president of the South Cumminsville Community Council, said closing the bridge, although needed, produced some hardship.

        “We didn't realize how useful the bridge was until it was closed,” she said. “But it was in bad condition. It was hard to tell if it was a bridge or just an old road.”

        She said most residents, entering or exiting Interstate 74 from Beekman, had to detour off Beekman to Dreman Avenue when the Powers Street Bridge was closed.

        “Actually it kind of gave people on both sides of the bridge a look at another part of the neighborhood,” she said.


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