Bridge Building

The old adage "change is good" apparently doesn't apply to the Fulton Road Bridge. The 72-year-old, concrete-arch landmark spanning Big Creek and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo — seen up close and personal by the 1.3 million people who visit the zoo each year — will be replaced by a similar structure in 2007.

The span has been slowly crumbling for the past several years (nets hung by city workers catch chunks falling from decks, arches and columns). In 2003, the Cuyahoga County engineer's office gave the public three design choices for its replacement.

"People didn't want to see a modern bridge because it doesn't fit the community," explains Jamal Husani, the county's chief transportation engineer.

The new structure will be built on the foundations of the current bridge, but Husani says it won't be identical to its predecessor. Ten-foot-wide sidewalks and bicycle lanes will make it wider. Unlike the original, which was cast in place — a labor-intensive process that Husani estimates would cost $45 million to $51 million today — the new bridge will be assembled on site for a comparatively modest $38 million to $42 million.

"ecorative elements such as railings, light posts, benches and bicycle racks will be added if the city can secure federal funding. Husani says the public will be able to make suggestions at a meeting this fall. Those who can't wait till then can voice their opinions at

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