The Waldvogel Memorial Viaduct, also known as the Sixth Street Viaduct, is one of the ways Price Hill is connected to downtown Cincinnati. The viaduct was built in 1940 (as part of the final phase of construction of Union Terminal) and renamed for Edward Waldvogel, a mayor of Cincinnati and longtime Price Hill resident and bon vivant, after his death in 1954.
Portions of the viaduct were rebuilt in 1995, but the structure is in need of a major overhaul, which was finally scheduled to begin next month, in June 2011. However, during the current Ohio state budget process, a state representative from Fayette County, Bob Peterson (R), introduced an amendment to the budget intended to block state funding for the viaduct project unless the city of Cincinnati agreed to allow a Fayette County resident, Dave Martin, and his company, Queensgate Terminals, to build a barge terminal on the river near the viaduct.
The viaduct is in bad shape and definitely needs to be rebuilt, and many people in Cincinnati’s city hall as well as residents in Price Hill who have been fighting the construction of the barge terminal in a residential neighborhood, were quite upset that a non-local politician would try to stop a local project in this way. Fortunately, Price Hill’s local politician, Representative Denise Driehaus (D), spotted the amendment that was added to the budget late on Tuesday, May 3.
By Thursday afternoon, Driehaus and her staff were able to claim a small victory for the local viaduct project, announcing that she had been successful in having the detail tying the viaduct funding to the barge terminal from the state budget. The amendment was defeated by a vote of the full house on May 5.
Driehaus said that she supports rail-to-barge projects in principle, but the proposed amendment showed disregard for the state Constitution as well as the concerns of the city and area residents about a controversial project that would benefit only one company. “Holding the viaduct hostage while we wait for a resolution on something that’s pending in court would have been problematic. I’m grateful my colleagues voted unanimously to take out what would have been a very damaging provision,” Driehaus said in a press release after the vote.
State funding of $66.5 million was designated for the Waldvogel Viaduct project, and with the defeat of Representative Peterson’s amendment, that money will be forthcoming, so reconstruction of the roadway can begin as scheduled this summer.