Washington Street Bridge Over the Great Miami River



Woolpert provided preliminary development and detailed final design for the replacement of the historic Washington Street Bridge crossing over the Great Miami River in Dayton. The existing Washington Street Bridge was a seven-span earth-filled concrete arch bridge supported by half-height wall type piers and full-height abutments constructed in 1905 to 1906. It was the fourth oldest bridge of this type constructed in Ohio. The existing bridge had exceeded its expected lifespan, exhibiting deterioration of its spandrel walls below and roadway barrier above. Also, it was not originally constructed on deep foundations, so scour had been an issue.

The structure had served nobly for over 100 years, and it was time for a replacement, but the new structure had to acknowledge the legacy of the original filled arch design. Woolpert had already designed the Findlay Street bridge replacement for the City of Dayton, and as a firm founded in Dayton in 1911, Woolpert maintained our relationship with the City for the Washington Street Bridge study and design.


The existing structure gracefully arched over the river, along with numerous other arched bridges on Dayton's five rivers. For this reason, it was decided that the proposed structure would reflect the arch shape that preceded it, and priority would be placed upon the aesthetics. Woolpert had to communicate with multiple property and utility owners and coordinate with utilities that had old rights to the bridge crossings in order to successfully complete this project.


Woolpert prepared a preliminary study for four different bridge types, along with various aesthetic upgrades. This study included preliminary drawings, renderings, and detailed descriptions of the alternates and upgrades, along with complete cost estimates for each. Each of the concepts presented in the preliminary study were different, with four different structural systems to create the arch shape, different pier details to complement each superstructure, as well as different architectural light fixtures and railing types.

Woolpert performed engineering and Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) services for three separate bridge projects in the City of Dayton, Ohio, all crossing the Great Miami River. Both the Washington Street and Stewart Street bridges were City of Dayton projects, and the Monument Avenue bridge was an Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) project. On each project, Woolpert not only provided Quality Level C utility survey information, but also held utility coordination meetings to keep all providers up to date and promote dialogue regarding necessary utility relocations.


The variety of options presented in Woolpert’s preliminary study allowed the City of Dayton and Woolpert to tailor the bridge design in order to meet the needs of the City and its citizens. The resulting structure was a seven span (5@90’ & 2@89’) 628-ft long composite prestress concrete box beam bridge, supported on CIP piles, with semi-integral abutments and reinforced concrete wall type piers. The roadway is 36-ft wide, accommodating two travel lanes and a center turn lane with two 10-ft sidewalks, one on each side of the bridge. Texas rail type barrier was chosen for the outside limits of the sidewalks -and is accompanied by acorn style deck lighting. The precast faux arches launch from pier to pier and are accented by up lighting to the superstructure.

The Washington Street Bridge has become one of a dozen signature bridge designs throughout the City of Dayton designed by Woolpert bridge engineers, including Findlay Street, Monument Avenue, and Stewart Street.


The new Washington Street Bridge resembles the original structure but includes significant aesthetic upgrades. The new bridge is highly functional, with pedestrian access and improved lighting and railing. The simplified nature of the design—precast, non-loadbearing arches and simple box beam superstructure—allowed for a low first cost of construction by opening the bidding to a host of contractors familiar with these standard construction elements.

City of Dayton, Ohio

Dayton, OH


  • Preliminary study
  • Design
  • Cost estimating