Cincinnati City Manager, Paula Boggs Muething, issued a memo in late October showcasing the recommended design for the nearly 90-year-old Western Hills Viaduct.
Unlike the current bridge, the new design showcases a single level that will connect drivers from Queensgate to South Fairmount. An additional feature included in the plan is a protected walking and biking path.
According to Boggs, construction of the new bridge could begin as soon as 2022, with a price tag of $335 million to complete.
The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County have committed a combined $66 million towards the project, with federal and state grants generating another $59 million. Boggs is also counting on additional funding from the passage of Issue 7, passed in April of this year, increasing the county’s sales tax .8% with expected revenues of $130 million annually. Boggs stated in the memo those funds would be "requested as soon as it is available."
Leading up to the April vote, the City of Cincinnati passed a resolution committing City Council to make the Western Hills Viaduct the number one priority with funds generated from the levy. A resolution that carries about as much weight as a pinky-promise.
The Hamilton County Integrating Committee, which serves as an appointed board, comprised of city, township, and county officials, will make all decisions on allocating funds.
Tax revenue estimates from the levy prior to the COVID-19 pandemic totaled $130 million. $100 million of that, funding Metro, and the other $30 million, directed towards fixing and maintaining bridges and roadways. How the pandemic has affected those estimates thus far remains to be seen.
A public hearing will be conducted the week of November 16, between the city and county has been scheduled. The proposed design will be shared in detail, and officials hope to gather feedback from residents and business owners.