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Ohio Street and Michigan Avenue Vertical Lift Bridges
By Dennis Galucki and Chuck LaChiusa
Center for the Study of Art, Architecture, History and Nature

On this page, below:

Ohio Street Vertical Lift Bridge

Michigan Avenue Vertical Lift Bridge

Ohio Street Bridge

This bridge was completed in 1962 and is "tower driven." The machinery to move the cables attached to the counterweights is located at the top of towers at either end, shrouded in a metal covering.

The first bridge: The first public Ohio St. Bridge was built in 1866 and was, like its downstream cousins, a swing bridge. The bridge swung about a turntable on a pier built in the middle of the stream.

The second bridge: With vessels getting wider and riverfront property getting more valuable, the city of Buffalo was forced to replace the old swing bridge to keep up with economic forces. In 1904 the city built the world's first bascule of the Brown design (bascule, French for seesaw, meaning a bridge so balanced that when one end is lowered, the other is raised).

The present bridge: After almost 60 years of use, the Brown bascule was replaced by the current vertical lift span. The vertical lift bridge offers significant advantages over bascules, the major one being cost.The counterweights merely have to equal the weight of the span, whereas bascule counterweights generally weigh two to three times the weight of the roadway to be lifted. Further, since the floor of the span always remains horizontal, any kind of pavement can be used (the Ohio St. Bridge's is steel deck). Lastly, should the grade level of the approaching roadways be changed, it is a relatively simple matter to adjust the draw to fit the new grades, without having to move any machinery or the towers themselves.

- Text source: Buffalo's Waterfront: A Guidebook, by Tim Tielman

Ohio Street Bridge


Ohio Street Bridge over the Buffalo River

Ohio Street Bridge



Ohio Street Bridge



Ohio Street Bridge



Ohio Street Bridge



Ohio Street Bridge



Ohio Street Bridge



Michigan Avenue Bridge

The first recorded bridge was built in 1873, while the current vertical lift bridge was opened in 1960., replicating a 1933 design that was destroyed in a shipping accident.

- Text source: Buffalo's Waterfront: A Guidebook, by Tim Tielman

Michigan Avenue Bridge


Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Buffalo River


Michigan Avenue Bridge ... Marine Midland Bank/HSBC Center






Michigan Avenue Bridge



Michigan Avenue Bridge




See also:


Photos and their arrangement 2004 Chuck LaChiusa
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