List of bridges across the Ohio

The Ohio River.

This is a list of bridges spanning the Ohio River in the United States. The Ohio River is a 1,579-mile river that drains the western flank of the Appalachian Mountains, as well as parts of the Midwest. It is a tributary of the Mississippi River, but the Ohio River is larger in runoff at its confluence.

The Ohio River is formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers merge to form the Ohio River. The river is already 300 meters wide at this point and is more than 200 meters above sea level. The river flows northwest through a valley and the banks are highly industrialized here. After Glasgow, the border with West Virginia and Ohio follows, the river forms the border between the two states. The entire remaining length of the Ohio River is then a border river.

After East Liverpool, the river branches south, forming the western border of West Virginia and the southeastern and eastern borders of Ohio. This is a fairly deep river valley, with wooded hills all around. On a fairly long stretch there are no really big cities on the route, but many small industrial towns, such as Wheeling, Parkersburg and Huntington. There are many industrial sites along this section of the Ohio River. The main tributary on this section is the Kanawha River, which flows into the Ohio River from West Virginia at Point Pleasant.

The river then branches west and forms the border between Kentucky and Ohio. This border area of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky is relatively urbanized with several small industrial towns on its shores. The river is usually 500 to 600 meters wide on this stretch. Finally, one reaches the metropolitan region of Cincinnati. Downtown Cincinnati is located on the Ohio River, as are the opposite cities of Newport and Covington in Kentucky.

At the mouth of the Great Miami River, the north bank merges into the state of Indiana. The Ohio River bends southwest here and has a slightly more winding valley, although it doesn’t really meander. Next is the large city of Louisville, with a center on the Ohio River. This is where the great Ohio River waterfall is located, which ships can bypass via the McAlpine Locks and Dam. This is followed by a more natural part of the river, with a lot of forest on both banks and less towns.

To the west are the towns of Owensboro, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana on the Ohio River. On this route you leave the hill country and the area is increasingly flat. The Wabash River flows into it on the Indiana – Illinois border. Near Paducah, Kentucky, two major tributaries flow into the Ohio River in quick succession, namely the Cumberland River and the Tennessee River. Not much further west is Cairo, Illinois, the last town on the Ohio River at its confluence with the Mississippi River.


River Length
Allegheny River 523 km
Monongahela River 210 km
Muskingum River 179 km
Little Kanawha River 272 km
Kanawha River 156 km
Scioto River 372 km
Licking River 488 km
Great Miami River 270 km
Kentucky River 418 km
Green River 618 km
Wabash River 810 km
Cumberland River 1,107 km
Tennessee River 1,049 km


A set of 19 dams are located in the Ohio River to keep the river navigable and to generate electricity. The largest and most historically significant structure is the McAlpine Locks and Dam in Louisville, where a natural drop in the Ohio River was too great for shipping. This dam was completed in 1830 and was the first major civil engineering structure on the Ohio River.


The average flow rate at Cairo, Illinois is 8,000 m³/s. The Ohio River is larger than the Mississippi River at this point. This is mainly because the Ohio River drains a wetter area than the Mississippi River. The entire west flank of the Appalachian Mountains drains to the Ohio River, as does the south of the midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

The highest flow rate ever measured is 52,000 m³/s. Flooding is common along the Ohio River, especially on the downstream portion of the Illinois-Kentucky border where the lowlands flood at high tide.

The Ohio River as a waterway

The Ohio River is a vital waterway, its importance being recognized as early as the early 1800s and the ability to navigate the Ohio River led to significant industrialization of its banks in the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati but also on some locations further downstream. Particularly on the part that forms the border between West Virginia and Ohio, there are many industrial sites.

Large-scale push barge shipping occurs on the river. The industrial city of Pittsburgh is connected to the Gulf of Mexico by the Ohio River and Mississippi River. In particular, oil, steel and other industrial products are shipped in bulk across the Ohio River. Each dam has a lock complex.

The standard lock chambers are 600 ft (180 meters) long and 110 ft (38 meters) wide. In some locations, the lock chambers are twice as long (1200 ft, 360 m).


The Ohio River has some special historic bridges, the most special being the Wheeling Suspension Bridge in Wheeling and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge in Cincinnati, these are two large suspension bridges. Elsewhere, some early 20th-century suspension bridges still cross the river, such as the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge, the Market Street Bridge, and the Newell Toll Bridge.

In the early 20th century, a large number of bridges were built over the Ohio River. Most of these were built over the eastern part of the river, the river was narrower here and there was a lot of industry on the river at that time. The last new bridges over the river were built in the 1950s and 1960s. From the 1980s it became necessary to replace old bridges with new ones. Since 1990, bridges over the Ohio River have been replaced on a fairly large scale by new bridges, often in a different shape, for example, the cable- stayed bridge is becoming more and more common across the river. A large number of old bridges have also been demolished or blown up.

List of bridges across the Ohio