Roche de Boeuf interurban bridge project
About the project
ODOT has proposed a project to address safety concerns associated with the Roche de Boeuf interurban bridge that crosses the Maumee River between Wood and Lucas counties in northwest Ohio. The earth filled arch structure, which originally carried an interurban trolley line for the Ohio Electric Company, was built in 1908. The structure was abandoned in 1937 and has fallen into disrepair.
The structure spans over the Maumee River, which is a State Scenic and Recreational River, an Ohio Department of Natural Resources designated Water Trail, a U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers Navigable waterway (Section 10), a U.S. Coast Guard regulated waterway, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency designated Warm Water Habitat and Primary contact recreation water (suitable for swimming), and mussel habitat stream, although not in this location.
One of the northern bridge piers was built upon a natural bedrock island in the river, which has been a landmark since around 1750. The rock island is now called Roche de Boeuf, which has a modern translation to “rock of beef” or “rock of buffalo.” In the 18th century, French settlers called it “Roche de Bout,” “Roche de Boo,” “Roche de But,” or “Rose de Boo,” which translates to “rock on end”. The rocky island is a historically important way-finding point and meeting place. Historically it was a documented meeting place for Native Americans and early settlers, and also for modern day festivals (Roche de Boeuf Festival). About a third of the original rock island was removed during construction of the bridge.
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.
History of the current project
October 2017 – ODOT receives letter describing safety concerns for watercrafts.
January 2018 – ODOT kicks off project to improve safety.
April 2018 – ODOT sends invitations to stakeholders (adjacent landowners, local governments, local emergency response agencies, local schools, local historical societies, state agencies, and tribal nations) to notify them of the project to improve safety on the waterway.
September 2018 – ODOT sends letters to surrounding property owners to notify them of survey activities in the area.
2018 and 2019 – Land and environmental surveys occurred, data was collected, and a feasibility study was developed to research alternatives by ODOT-hired consultants.
August 2019 – Alternatives analysis from the feasibility study and project information presented and feedback requested.
September and October 2019 – Feasibility study revised based on stakeholder comments and public meeting advertised.
November 2019 – Public meeting held to present project information and alternatives analysis from the feasibility study.
2020 – Feasibility study revised based on public comments. Preferred alternative to be chosen and engineering design to begin.
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This section is for frequently asked questions and project-related questions. You may notice that some projects require one or more formal comment period(s) with deadlines for comments to be considered during certain phase(s) of the project development process. Typically called the “public comment period," this is when ODOT asks the public for input before an important decision needs to be made, such as choosing a preferred alternative. You may notice these periods generally occur immediately following a public meeting.
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