DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – After two years of construction, Dayton’s Peace Bridge over the Miami River in downtown Dayton is finally open.
The Third Street bridge opened to vehicular traffic Thursday. The $17 million structure replaces the 114-year-old Third Street Bridge that Montgomery County said was a symbol of division between the city of Dayton and the west side for years.
Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner hosted a ribbon-cutting on Oct. 13, but it took a few more weeks to put the final touches on what County said is, “sure to be a community gathering place for years to come.”
The project features art focused on racial harmony and Dayton’s history. Art features include sculptures of the original 1963 Peace March, the Wright brothers, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King. The bridge has ornate observation platforms and a wide pedestrian walkway, adorned with African Adinkra symbols that each represent a different healthy, peaceful human behavior.
“We had a series of discussions with artists, historians, journalists and citizens from Wright Dunbar Neighborhood,” said County Engineer Paul Gruner, P.E., P.S. “There was agreement that our Peace Bridge should speak to African American struggles, our city’s rich history, and the legacy of this important structure. I think everyone involved is very proud of the results.”