|1909 image of the half constructed bridge (Municipal Journal & Engineer 1909)|
The Bridge consists of a four-span, closed spandrel structure constructed of reinforced concrete and extending 541 feet in length and is 87.9 feet wide outside to outside. The structural condition of the bridge was declared Basically intolerable requiring high priority of corrective action in 2014. The bridge was begun in 1907 as a replacement of an older bridge and was constructed with streetcar tracks and in two halfs for east and westbound traffic, similar to the approach for its current replacement, leaving the old structure in place to maintain traffic according to the Municipal Journal and Engineer Journal of 1907. The bridhe received a comprehensive overhaul in 1970.
The 110 year old bridge was already slated for replacement when the Red Line was planned to be placed in the median and the design was adjusted accordingly. The modified bridge became one of Baltimore's "in-kind" local contributions to the Red Line project. First bid and awarded in 2015. According to the acting Director of DOT, Frank Murphy, the bridge was put out for bid again this year and awarded for a construction cost of $40 million. According to City DOT the bridge will be fully replaced but look very similar after completion. In 1996 an application was made to place the similar West Baltimore Street bridge (it has open spandrels) on the Federal Register of Historic Places but apparently this bridge was never designated.
The design of the bridge falls into a period when infrastructure was expected to "conform with the environment" but also use new technologies such as concrete. In a book titled "Artistic Bridge Design" (1912), bridge engineer Henry G. Tyrrell asserted that bridges are considered beautiful when they
Bus and car drivers know the bridge at the low point between Rosemont and Edmondson Village in a much more prosaic way: As a place of standing water after each major rain event that each winter turns into a field of horrific potholes. Pedestrians know it as a treacherous place with minimal 5' sidewalks where people are jammed between the curb and the concrete parapet and helplessly exposed to the splatter of the standing water or the slush in winter. One can hope that the new design allows a few more feet of walk space, even though the space for future tracks should certainly be maintained, just in case Baltimore still gets the Red Line one day.
|The bridge looking east with the redirected lanes indicating that the south|
half will be done first (Photo Philipsen)
The Edmondson Avenue bridge is just one example of the crumbling Baltimore infrastructure. If redone correctly, it will last another 110 years. The bridge carries between 35,000 to 50,000 vehicles a day, many of the trucks and buses.
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA