Montgomery County officials broke ground Monday on a project to replace Dayton’s deteriorating Third Street Bridge.
The new $16 million bridge will feature large walkways for east and westbound pedestrians. It will also include several lookout points where people can read about Dayton history and view the river.
Dayton-area artist Bing Davis serves on the bridge planning committee. He says the bridge’s design is also meant to help residents overcome what he says is a widespread perception that the city of Dayton is a divided one.
“For years it's been a barrier, from the standpoint that it was viewed as one side for white folks the other side for black folk,” says Davis. “It was never true, but it became a symbol of separation more than one of unification.”
Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner and a host of other city and state officials were on hand for the afternoon groundbreaking ceremony.
Gruner said the new bridge, dubbed The Peace Bridge, and its amenities would benefit local businesses, bicyclists and motorists.
“The project will consist of replacing the shallow, original foundation, which was built in 1904 and suffered a partial collapse in 1929 and will expand the width of the structure to accommodate more traffic,” he says.
The new bridge will add a center left-turn lane for motorists going both directions. The pedestrian walkways will be 10-feet-wide on the north side, and 17-feet-wide on the south side.
The span will close to traffic during construction beginning January 2, 2020.
Planning for the bridge project began back in 2014. Funded by a mix of federal, state and local dollars, it is expected to take two years to complete.