Cover 2

The Main Avenue Viaduct in Cleveland designed as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has designated the Main Avenue Viaduct in Cleveland as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. This honor has been bestowed on fewer than 230 projects completed throughout U.S. history.  The viaduct is the northernmost high-level crossing of the Cuyahoga River and is over a mile in length. It was financed through Cuyahoga County bonds and a grant from the Works Progress Administration. Dedicated on October 6, 1939, the viaduct was designed by the Office of the Cuyahoga County Engineer. Fred L. Plummer was the Chief Design Engineer, assisted by over thirty engineers dedicated to the project. Plummer orchestrated an engineering design theme of structural continuity for increased efficiency and improved aesthetics. Some of the viaduct's notable features include the lakeside ramp plate girders over the railroad tracks, the ten spans of continuous cantilever trusses, and the West 28th Street overpasses.  The plate girders were the longest built in the U.S. up to that time. The West 28th Street overpasses are the oldest extant welded rigid frame highway bridges in the U.S.   

The viaduct is the second National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in Cleveland. The first is Cleveland Hopkins Airport, which pioneered several airport safety features. Additional information on the Main Avenue Viaduct may be obtained from the Cleveland Section of the ASCE ( ).

Dr. Dario Gasparini, professor emetitus of structural engineering, has been instrumental in facilitating the nomination process.  Dr. Gasparini served as the past Chair of the Cleveland Section of History & Heritage Committee and led extensive studies on the preservation of historical structures.

Oct 2020