The 8,800ft long I-280 Maumee River Crossing (MRC) project, a new cable-stayed bridge connecting north Toledo and east Toledo at Maumee Bay, will be the most expensive bridge in Northwest Ohio. The $220-million new bridge will replace the existing I-280 Craig Memorial Bridge, one of the few remaining lift span bridges on the US Interstate system. The Maumee River Bridge will carry six lanes of traffic and the elevation of the roadway will reach about 130ft height at the center of the river from the water level.

The Ohio Department Of Transportation (ODOT) in association with Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG), and the Communities of Northwest Ohio are sponsoring the Maumee River Bridge project. The project was initiated in spring 2001, construction works on the project began in March 2002 and the new bridge has been scheduled to be open to public by autumn 2006. The official name of the bridge is the Veterans Glass City Skyway and the informal name is the I-280 Maumee River Crossing.

The existing Craig Bridge was opened to traffic in the 1950s and is the direct Interstate link to the Port of Toledo. Around 60,000 vehicles, including 18,000 commercial vehicles, use the I-280 Craig Memorial bridge daily.


Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and a Project Management Consultant (PMC) team, consisting of HNTD Corporation, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Proudfoot Associates, Mannik & Smith, and Roman / Peshoff are developing the Maumee River Crossing bridge project. Carol Johnson & Associate Inc. is responsible for the landscape design. The PMC team is also acting as an adviser for the construction.

The project was designed by Figg Bridge Engineers and was approved following the consideration of opinions from experts and local citizens at workshops held in April and May 2000. Ohio Department of Transportation also participated in the design of the new cable-stayed bridge structure. ES Wagner and FRU-CON were awarded the main construction contract.

Finkbeiner Pettris & Strout are responsible for the lighting, signing arrangements and pavement marking. Figg Engineering Group is responsible for the main span design. Section design consultants are Kohi Engineering Group, Dansard-Grohnke-Long Ltd, Bergermann Associates, and Adache Ciuni Lynn Associates.


The new bridge will be a key transportation link in the region. The project ranges from the State Route 2 (Navarre Avenue) to the I-280 / I-75 interchange, a distance of approximately 3.8 miles. Different segments of the bridge vary in size and weight. The approach segments are larger and heavier than the ramp and main span segments. On an average, each segment is 10ft long, 58ft wide and 8ft to 12ft deep. The average segment weight is in the range of 75t to 100t. The average length of ramp is 10ft long, 30ft wide and 8ft deep.


A chain of 181 reinforced-concrete piers was designed for the support structure to carry the approaches to the river’s shorelines. The piers are more than 8ft in diameter with drilling shaft foundations as deep as 100ft. The concrete segments for the main body of the bridge are being erected between each pier using specially made erection trusses and this technique is used for the approaches on both sides of the river, as well as at the entrance and exit ramps at Front Street and Greenbelt Parkway.

3,057 pre-cast concrete segments have been used in the bridge construction and segments, each weighing 60t to 100t. They have been poured at a casting yard off Front Street. Trucks carry segments from the casting yard to the I-280 construction site. On the east side of the project, five T-piers have been constructed. The total number of spans is 190, of which 108 spans will be used for the approaches, 74 for the entrance and exit ramps and eight for the main span over the Maumee River.


Rising to a height of 400ft out of the middle of the river, the main pylon is the centerpiece of Maumee River Bridge Crossing project. The roadway height will be 130ft above the Maumee River.

As part of the construction of the pylon, a 104ft diameter steel ring called a ‘cofferdam’ was positioned in the middle of the river and filled with sand making a temporary island to allow a giant drill rig to bore a total of 17 shafts 15ft into the bedrock. These shafts have been filled with reinforced concrete to create the foundation for the pylon.

Marking the city’s heritage as the ‘Glass City’, glass panels equipped with an LED lighting system will be installed on all four sides of the pylon. Each LED will last 100,000 hours, providing 22 years of illumination at 12 hours per day.


The new bridge will be one of the first in the world to use a stainless-steel stay-cable cradle system that enables the bridge’s 20 stay cables to pass through it. Stay cables will be anchored to the pylon.

The 20 cable stays running from the bridge deck through the main pylon are the support structure for the concrete bridge desk over the river. Each cable comprises a bundle of smaller epoxy-coated steel strands ranging from 82 to 156 in number. Each stay cable will be housed inside a stainless-steel sheathing for protection. As each cable passes through the stay cradle in the pylon, its individual strands will be isolated in their own protective sleeves.