CLEVELAND — The Main Avenue Bridge in Cleveland has been designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark due to its design and innovation at the time it opened in 1939.
The Main Avenue Bridge is the second National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in Cleveland. The first one is Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, designated on 1979.
Less than 230 projects in the United States have received this distinction.
Dr. Dario Gasparini, professor emeritus of structural engineering at Case Western Reserve University, was instrumental in researching the project and facilitating the nomination process.
“It was built during the Depression, really in an extraordinarily effective and efficient, economical way,” Gasparini said.
Gasparini said the bridge is a prominent achievement in the United States as it was completed in 17 months to construct an 8,000-foot-long viaduct.
“So that [the bridge] was a real industrial achievement by Clevelanders and the residents of Cuyahoga County,” he said.
Gasparini said the designation has social significance for Cuyahoga County.
“Really a great achievement kind of a testament to the industrial might of Cleveland in the 1920s and 1930s,” he said about the approval of funds to get it built at the time of the Great Depression.
The Main Avenue Bridge was a first of its kind.
"It was probably the first in the United States to allow the traffic really through a city without having to go to the actual streets of the city itself. It's been a great 82-year-old resource for the region,” Gasparini said.
The Main Avenue Bridge Landmark Dedication will be celebrated on Oct. 6 at 3:00 p.m. with a plaque unveiling at the Cleveland Metroparks Water Taxi Dock on the east side of the river.
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