Toledo Rail Bridge Being Dismantled

A high-profile but out-of-service railroad bridge in Toledo is being dismantled.

The bridge over the Maumee River adjacent to the Ohio Turnpike is being removed after the Wood County Port Authority was unable to give it away.

Known as the Upper River Bridge, it once carried the Toledo Terminal Railroad between South Toledo and Perrysburg Township.

A few components of the bridge will be preserved and displayed in a park being developed in South Toledo.

Trains haven’t used the 116-year-old bridge in more than 30 years and the tracks were earlier removed by CSX.

Officials said the steel on the bridge is expected to be removed by late December. The park is expected to open by June 1, 2019.

Officials considered using the 1,400-foot bridge as part of the Chessie Circle Trail that is being developed on part on former TT right of way.

But an engineering study determined that although the bridge could support the weight of pedestrians and bicyclists, it might not have been strong enough for use by emergency vehicles.

The structure of the bridge was found to be too poor to make restoration practical.

The Westside Corridor Coordinating Committee, a consortium of public agencies organized to develop the Chessie Circle Trail, is considering building a bridge in the footprint of the Upper River Bridge, but currently lacks the funding to do so.

The Ohio Department of Transportation’s Office of Environmental Services determined in 2009 that the center swing spans of the Upper River Bridge were eligible for the National Register of Historic Places “as a surviving example of an uncommon type of bridge technology.”

The pivot mechanism built beneath those spans is rare and will be preserved and displayed in the park.

But officials are uncertain if the bridge was ever opened for river traffic because there is no evidence that motors or controls were installed.

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