Mar. 2004

Above is the first of a series of photos I took on a bike ride in the area of Cincinnati's secret bridge. This photo ain't the bridge. This is facing east towards downtown from a walkway off Mehring Way over the 6th Street freeway (US 50). The steps to the walkway are often littered with broken glass and soiled underpants. In the foreground on the right side of the expressway is what I believe to be a pier that once supported a railroad that linked the Ludlow rail bridge with Union Terminal.

Another photo from the walkway, this one facing west on the freeway.

What's unusual about this section of the 6th Street freeway? Yes, it's a freeway with a sidewalk! The only way to access the sidewalk from the east is via the footbridge discussed above.

Here it is! The secret bridge! Now, as Alice Cooper said in that one video, let me explain!!!

This photo was taken from the sidewalk of the 6th Street freeway. The secret bridge is in the foreground, with Mill Creek passing under the arch. As of 2004, the span can be accessed by going west on the eerie part of Mehring Way past the NO OUTLET sign. As I got close to the low-lying bridge from that approach I found people driving construction equipment around, and I didn't want to risk their wrath by trying to cross their bridge.

The bridge really is secret. Every new map I've seen omits it or clutters it so badly you can't find it. Even the USGS topo map doesn't show Mehring connecting with the bridge and makes it ambiguous whether the bridge is road or rail - though in fact the bridge has both a road and a rail track. I surmised that the bridge might exist by looking at new aerial photos and old maps. A map from the 1910s seems to mark the bridge as 6th Street, but the bridge is dated 1918. (It's hard to say for sure if this was 6th, because the map implies that the road and railroad used separate bridges that were very close to each other.) Why I did not detect the bridge on previous visits to the area is unknown.

These questions remain: Does the bridge connect to roads on the other side, making it physically possible for cars to use it as a thru route? And if it is physically possible, is it legal? Is there a big Allowed Cloud that bars the public from using it without the threat of ruinous criminal sanctions from the Far Right?

And why is the bridge such a big secret?

The above picture is on the other side of Mill Creek. This is along Evans Street near River Road, as seen from the top of the rusted staircase that descends from the Waldvogel Viaduct (which carries the 6th Street freeway). At the bottom of these steps, there's a little-used, narrow road that runs east off Evans, barely under the north side of the freeway bridge. This road doesn't even have any signs telling you what it is, but I went down there, and after about a block it curved to the right just a bit, and I saw the now-familiar sight of construction equipment being driven there. This was probably the other side of what I had seen earlier, meaning that the secret bridge does indeed connect thru routes on both sides of the creek, although it may not be open to the public. But I'm not certain of this, and from an aerial photo it appears the west approach of the secret bridge may just be a dead end that trails off into the railroad tracks south of River Road.

In any event a Cincinnati secret is exposed once and for all. Why they keep this bridge a secret is as much of a mystery as the bridge itself.

A distant view of the 8th Street Viaduct. "Viaduct" is a funny word. Not as funny as "ruin" but probably funnier than "luncheon."

The polluted Mill Creek. The creek is passing through what looks to be both a building and a dam, but we've been told that this structure is a flood barrier. Mill Creek has a wide floodplain, so when the Ohio River floods (i.e., often) the barrier blocks the creek to keep it from backing up. The barrier features pumps that drain Mill Creek. The rail bridge to Ludlow, KY, is in the background at left.

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