Ohio's Tallest Bridge Modernized

Nov 18, 2016

Friday morning the Ohio Department of Transportation will commemorate the completed construction of the state's tallest bridge, the Jeremiah Morrow on I-71 north of Lebanon.

The original bridge, built in the early 1960s, was made of steel with a very international crew. Education Director of the Warren County Historical Society John Zimkus says of the 81 workers 60 were Native Americans, most likely Kahnawake Mohawks who were not afraid of heights and even today build skyscrapers across the country. Sixteen were painters from Greece. Other crew members came from Scotland, Ireland and Italy.

Refurbishing the old bridge was going to cost tens of millions of dollars and the decision was made to replace it.

The new bridge, officially opening today, is made of concrete and will feature a shoulder that can be converted into a third lane if necessary. Planning began six years ago with the demolition of the old bridge June 1, 2014.

Credit The Ohio Department of Transportation

The bridge is 239 feet above the Little Miami River and is 2,300 feet long.

One interesting aspect is that the concrete is hollow and an inspection can be done in  two days, not the week that it took with the old steel bridge.

So who is Jeremiah Morrow?

According to Zimkus, Jeremiah Morrow was the sixth Governor of Ohio, the state's only congressman for ten years and a senator.

Zimkus talks about how people described him.  "He was a farmer who happened to serve his people. There are multiple numbers of people trying to meet the great governor or senator and there he is...knee deep trying to clear a log jam."

The old bridge had been dedicated a year before it was renamed the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge.