The historic Station Road Bridge is a popular gateway to the Towpath Trail in the northern Cuyahoga Valley. It was built in 1881, a year after the Valley Railway began service and opened Brecksville Station nearby. As the name implies, this was literally the bridge on the road to the station. Summit and Cuyahoga counties split the $3,600 cost to get vehicles over the Cuyahoga River between Brecksville and Northfield.
The structure was made of wrought iron, just before steel became the material of choice. Instead of being riveted like a modern bridge, it was pinned like a covered bridge. The floor is wooden. It is also a bridge between older and newer construction styles.
Our first photo shows the scene around 1907.
By the time the Station Road Bridge became part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, it had fallen into disrepair, closing to road traffic in 1980. The young park and its partners decided to fix this valley icon. Our second photo captures the 1992 ribbon-cutting, with park superintendent John Debo holding the bow. After months of repairs in New York, the bridge had been set back on its piers just days before. Now it became a critical trail connection between Cleveland Metroparks to the east and west and the north-south Towpath Trail that was about to open in the national park.
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Fast forward 30 years. Station Road Bridge is once again closed for major repairs. The Federal Highways Administration is currently leading a $1.34 million makeover. This time the bridge has been wrapped and work is being done in place. We ask runners, cyclists, wildlife watchers and horseback riders to pick an alternate route for a few months. The Towpath Trail itself and the Cuyahoga River Water Trail will remain open, but there may be short-term disruptions.
If all goes well, the construction will be completed by March 26.