The Eagle Avenue Bridge (SFN 1869604) was originally constructed in 1930 - 31 and was a component of the Eagle Avenue Viaduct built in 1928. The viaduct provided automobile and pedestrian crossing over the Cuyahoga River freight channel. (See Figure 1). 

The Eagle Avenue mechanical lift bridge operated so that automobiles and other vehicles were able to cross the Cuyahoga River (when lift was “down” level with the roadway) while also maintaining access for goods to travel along the river (under the bridge, when the lift was “up”) to the Flats area of the Cuyahoga River. The bridge consists of two towers and a central 224’ lift span. The lift span is a through Pennsylvania (Petit) truss. An operator house is situated in the center of the lift span. The bridge was the first vertical lift bridge built in the City of Cleveland and is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).

The bridge was rehabilitated in 1991. ODOT removed most of the Eagle Avenue Viaduct in 2005, leaving the lift bridge in place. The  bridge is no longer in service and has been retired in the “up” position per U.S. Coast Guard requirements to allow freighter passage below. In addition to the freighter traffic, the Cuyahoga River near Eagle Avenue is used by recreational boaters and rowing crew teams.

Once the Eagle Avenue Viaduct was removed and the Eagle Avenue bridge was not serving a transportation purpose, it was decided that maintenance funds would be reallocated to the 5 other National Register (eligible or listed) lift bridges in Cleveland. Therefore, the bridge has not been maintained since the closure in 2005. The lack of maintenance has led to the deterioration in the structure of the bridge and the current critical condition. The most recent bridge inspection, conducted in October 2021, rated the structure as in Critical condition and found severe corrosion and other structural deficiencies.

Several alternatives were explored to address the structural deficiencies of the bridge. After evaluating the alternatives, it was recommended that removing the existing bridge is the safest and most cost-effective alternative that satisfies the purpose of the project. 

You can learn more about this evaluation and recommendation by watching the video in the next tab (“Alternatives and Recommendation”).  

Purpose & Need

The existing bridge has not been functioning since the closure in 2005. Maintenance funding prioritized the other 5 lift bridges in the City that served a transportation purpose. No maintenance has been conducted on the structure since 2005. Lack of maintenance, structural deficiencies, and associated safety issues could lead to a potential bridge collapse which could endanger lives and the movement of commercial traffic below. The purpose of this project is to address the bridge’s deficiencies and the resulting safety concerns.

Bridge Components

(Click image to enlarge)

Public Comment Period

6/12/2023 - 7/14/2023

Public Comment Responses Sent

Summer / Fall 2023