I will forward your comment to Iowa DNR. They are the ones in charge of most trails there and are willing to have the Counties look at historic bridges as projects. Nathan referred to BACH Steel as affordable restorationists which is very true, but they can only get involved at the end when a project has been funded and goes to bidding. The process starts so much earlier.
Wish Workin' Bridges had been part of the BATAVIA BIKE BRIDGES project. We might have been able to point them in another, affordable restoration, and it would have included Nels Raynor's insites into the Scope of Work of a project, before BACH gets involved at the end.
You will be able to see Nels and his crew in action on the Piano Bridge. Maybe that will spur some more saving of bridges and that is why I have nominated Nels for Preservationist of the Year.
What needs to happen is that funding for trails needs to include stipulations that help promote the use of historic bridges whenever possible.
For example: Perhaps if the funding was the current 80/20 for reuse of an historic span, but only 50/50 if a MOB is used...UNLESS the recipient could prove that adequate effort was made to obtain an historic one.
Might be a hard sell initially...but it would sure help cut down the number of historic bridges that are lost.
Cost to rehab a historic truss bridge for pedestrian use versus a new pedestrian MOB depends on the condition and design of the historic truss. In general though, it appears that historic bridge rehabs can be competitive with MOBs, especially if you utilize a fabricator like we have in Michigan, Bach Ornamental and Structural Steel, who specializes in restoration work.
In addition to actual construction costs, its hard to put a dollar figure on the value of using a historic truss bridge on your trail. If all that Logansport is going to have on its trail is an ugly MOB, this will decrease the beauty and heritage of their trail.
While I don't care for their appearance, my dislike of MOBs is simple. Every time a MOB is built, an opportunity to preserve a historic bridge has been lost. Think of all the abandoned historic truss bridges and all the historic bridges which have been run through bridge marketing programs and have failed to find a new owner and are demolished. In my opinion an agency who chooses to build a MOB is contributing to the loss of historic bridges in this country just as much as the agencies actually replacing the historic bridges.
With all due respect I have to agree with Robert. While some people may find these spans interesting (and that's okay...to each their own), they really have no merit as being notable from an engineering standpoint.
I don't have any numbers to throw out...but I suspect a pedestrian MOB is likely less than rehabbing an historic truss bridge (roadway MOB's are more similar in price). But it comes down to being sensitive to our transportation heritage and reusing historic spans whenever possible. Dr. James Cooper and myself have a rather long list of spans available here in Indiana, and I'm sure every other state would have many of these displaced treasures sitting around.
Logansport, Indiana just scrapped plans to use an 1885 Whipple Truss as part of a trail bridge and decided to go with one long MOB. The funding problems likely weren't from the truss span as much as the 2 approach spans that would have to be built to get the required length. Likely something similar to this one in total length.
Unfortunately, instead of being diligent in trying to obtain more funding they bailed and took the easy way out. Sure they will still have a bridge that will do the job in getting people across the river...it just won't be something that will make people actually stop and look at it and wonder about it's history.
You will find that there is a very strong prejudice against Mail Order Bridges (MOBs) among many of us bridgehunters. As someone who has such a prejudice, I will offer my reasoning for why in my opinion, such bridges are not notable and do not belong on here.
1. These MOBs occasionally replace historic bridges on rail-trails. For many bridgehunters, it seems rather strange that a structure that once carried rail cars or trucks can not be rehabbed to carry pedestrians for a lower price than the importation of a MOB.
2. These MOBs are frequently used on trails where a nearby pony truss, or even a through truss is demolished. Again, if a bridge must be moved to the trail, why not use one from a mile or two away and has regional significance, instead of ordering a MOB?
3. These bridge are often portrayed by both fabricators nd owners as being something special. All kinds of modifiers such as "graceful", "unique", "quaint", "beautiful", etc have been used to describe them. This may lead the public to believe that they are getting a truly unique structure for their trail, etc. I do not blame companies or municipalities for portraying MOBs in this manner - that is business. Companies want to sell them, municipalities wan to attract tourism. But, these bridges are mass produced in such quantities, that they are no more unique then a slab. Let's wait about 60-70 years before we decide they need to take up bandwith.
I can not read the mind of Anonymous below with his MODERN/NOT HISTORIC comment, but I am happy to offer my opinion that these bridges do not meet any "notable" criteria.
So, if "none are of any historical significance" then why are they on here? It even says that in the description. This is HISTORIC bridges of the United States!
Name-calling - now who is the ass?
"None are of any historical significance"
Now if you would kindly stop being an ass.