Roche de Boeuf Bridge to be Demolished
According to multiple sources, the Ohio Department of Transportation will move forward with plans to demolish Waterville's historic Roche de Boeuf Bridge. WTOL-11 reports it will take at least one year before the removal will begin.
BG Independent Media reports there were two efforts to repurpose the bridge. On June 30, 2021, ODOT held an auction with two interested parties. The highest bidder submitted a bid of $6,500, that bid fell through 20 days later. The party with the next highest bid of $6,000 was given 60 days to submit a proposal that would layout a plan to either clear the bridge and its remnants or retain and maintain the bridge. The second bidder was given two additional 30-day extensions but was unable to produce the requested plan by the deadline of December 2.
ODOT says there were no other interested parties and any restoration would cost millions of dollars. They say since it doesn't serve a transportation purpose they can't justify using tax dollars for such a project.
The Roche de Boeuf Bridge was built for Ohio Electric Interurban by the National Bridge Company of Indianapolis in 1908. According to HistoricBridges.org, more than 130 men built the structure at a cost of just over $130,000. The bridge operated for nearly 30 years and was used as an electric interurban trolley line. In 1937 the tracks were removed and the bridge was abandoned. It was used again in 1941 when the Waterville Bridge collapsed. Residents used the Roche de Boeuf Bridge to cross the Maumee River until the "new" truss bridge was built in 1946.
One of the bridge's supports sits on the Roche de Boeuf, a historic rock used by early explorers and Native Americans. The Miami, Shawnee, Lenape, and their allies would use the site as a location for councils. Tribes met at the rock before the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794.