Rating:
2 votes

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge

Photos 

Overview

Photo taken August 2006 by Wayne Grodkiewicz

BH Photo #102677

Map 

Street View 

Facts 

Overview
Through truss bridge over Clifty Creek on US 31 in Columbus
Location
Columbus, Bartholomew County, Indiana
Status
Replaced by a new bridge
History
Built 1941; rehabilitated 1985
Design
Riveted, 8-panel Parker through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 174.8 ft.
Total length: 284.7 ft.
Deck width: 27.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.4 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.20834, -85.87343   (decimal degrees)
39°12'30" N, 85°52'24" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/597266/4340501 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Elizabethtown
Inventory numbers
INNBI 009260 (Indiana bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 15805 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 03/2009)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 37.8 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2004)
17,411

Update Log 

  • February 23, 2013: Updated by Brent Tindall: Bridge has been replaced
  • April 15, 2010: New Street View added by J.P.
  • March 19, 2010: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Adjusted GPS coordinates
  • August 21, 2006: Posted photo from Wayne Grodkiewicz

Sources 

  • Wayne Grodkiewicz - WGrodkiewi [at] aol [dot] com
  • James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Brent Tindall - bizzat219 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Comments 

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 7, 2011, by Anonymous

I want to see these Big Bridges kept where they are at and if the reason the road department is taking them out is because the Road department people think the Big Bridges are too narrow for the Traffic that needs to go through it then i think that Widening ( Not permanently tearing down ) the Big Bridge is the solution to the Big Bridges being too Narrow and that is where i came up with that idea years ago when they tore out the George Steenbarger Big Bridge across the Flat Rock River is because the Big Bridge was perfectly fine except way too narrow for the traffic on 800N. So therefore the Big Bridge would still always be there, just twice as wide as it was before someone widened it and the reason i pick / choose to do this with the Iron / Steel / Covered Bridges is because they are so fancy designed and beautiful looking with all the designing on the Big Bridges so that is why i always say to widen the Iron / Steel and Covered Bridges instead of tearing them down and replacing them with those eyesore concrete bridges is then that way the Big Bridges will still look as fancy but yet it will be able to carry more traffic. so therefore that is why i always say that for the Steel and Iron Big Bridges if they have a top on them like this one did , the Highway Department needed to haul in more Steel and then split the Bridge in 1/2 then weld the brought in steel to the bridge so then that way the bridge would go from a double lane to a Quad lane Big Bridge

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 7, 2011, by Brad Lain

The reason i say that about Widening the Big Bridge by hauling in More Steel to the Big Bridge and then building a temporary bridge so traffic can still flow smoothly without any backups and then cutting the Big Bridge and welding the Hauled in Steel to the Big Bridge is to make it so then the Big Bridge can stay exactly where it is and still widen the Bridge but the main thing is to keep the Bridge where it is

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 6, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I like your enthusiasm Brad...... but I think pairing it with a new span or moving it would be a more feasible and less-intrusive option.

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 6, 2011, by Brad Lain

Now The "Bloomsbury" and the "Opie Road" Bridges that Nathan Holth has here is a perfect example of what i am talking about with temporairly closing the Big Bridge and build a Bridge off to the side while Widening the Big Bridges and then Re-Open the Big Bridges when the County or State Highway Department gets finished Widening the Big Bridges and that is what should always happen when the Big Bridge is too narrow for the traffic that crosses itinstead of Tearing the big Bridge totally down and building one of those eyesore concrete bridges to replace the Big Bridge what i always call ( Big Bridges ) is a Bridge that is taller than a car or a van or a Pick-Up Truck

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 6, 2011, by Robert Thompson (rkt [dot] engineering [at] gmail [dot] com)

There are two problems introduced if you widen out a truss bridge:

1) The increased deck area allows for more live loading. If you double the width of the bridge, the live load you have to design for also doubles;

2) By increasing the width, you have to support the new width under the bridge. This means adding significant amounts of steel structure, increasing the dead load.

When these two factors are put together, you have decreased the load carrying capacity of the bridge by much more than 50 per cent. Ergo, the bridge is no longer structurally adequate for the task. Sad but true.

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 6, 2011, by Brad Lain

I just always thought that the reason no one never widens a single lane Steel / Iron Big Bridge into a double lane Steel / Iron Big Bridge or a double lane Steel / Iron Big Bridge into a Quad Lane Big Bridge is by hauling more Steel / Iron into the Bridge and then cutting the bridge in 1/2 and welding the brought in Steel / Iron to the part that is cut in 1/2 is because simply no one ever thought of the idea. ( someone needs to light some lightbulbs to get some bright ideas ) for great ideas !!! because i know the reason that people tear down the Big Bridges it because they are too narrow to handle the heavy traffic on the Big Bridges and widening the Steel / Iron on the Big Bridges would take care of the traffic backing up because of the Big Bridges being too narrowand the traffic can flow more freely and not get backed up so bad . But these beautiful and fancy Iron and Steel and Covered bridges need to be preserved and cared for, Not torn down unless Re- Built at another place. But if someone decided to make a Double lane Bridge into a Quad Lane Bridge, It would just be like the way the Quad Lane Bridges are across the Ohio River except not nearly as long since some of these are Creeks and alot Narrower Rivers so in other words people build Quad Lane bridges all the time at Large Rivers like the Ohio and Wabash and the Kentucky and the Mississippi Rivers and so therefore i would think that it would be alot simpler to widen these Big Bridges like this one across the Clifty Creek because it is not nearly as long as what the one is in Madison on HWY 421 or any Big Bridge on the Ohio River or the Wabash or Kentucky or Mississippi Rivers

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 1, 2011, by Matthew Lohry

I agree with Tony here; widening a truss bridge--or any historic bridge, for that matter--by changing the dimensions of the superstructure is an enormous blow to its historic integrity. I have seen many cases where only the deck was widened, which results in much less effect on historic integrity. Additionally, it is very difficult and expensive to correctly widen a truss bridge, especially a through truss, with its extensive portal and overhead sway bracing. Pony trusses are a bit less intrusive, only because you have only the flooring system to deal with, which in and of itself is an engineering and construction nightmare. I think the best thing to do here is a full rehabilitation to original specs and conversion to one direction, and build a new bridge to handle the other direction.

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 1, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Personally, I would be happier to see a bridge like this rehabbed as is in it's present location, or do what Illinois has done and relocate it to a lower volume road.

Don't know that I'm real keen on the whole widening thing.... messing with the historic integrity a bit too much.

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 1, 2011, by Anonymous

It seems like it would be cheaper or cost as much to Widen a Bridge as it would be to totally tear down the Bridge that is there and re-start from the beginning because the road workers have part of the Bridge there already to work from if they were to widen a Big Bridge by Cutting the bridge in half and then welding the iron / steel to the bridge and doubling the wideness of the bridge, but it doesn't seem more expensive part of the work is done because part of the bridge is there

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 1, 2011, by Anonymous

If people were constantly still buliding steel Bridges like these, then i would not be stressing on preserving these Steel and Iron " Big Bridges " because i would know that an old Bridge would probably get replaced with another one just like it or wider

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 1, 2011, by Anonymous

It would be very "desirable" with me if someone "the Highway Department" would have made this and other Steel Bridges go from a double lane to a Quad lane Bridge

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted March 1, 2011, by Anonymous

I want people to realize what beautiful Steel and Iron Bridges people are losing when they tear them down and replace them with those Eyesore Concrete Bridges and instead Widen the Steel and Iron Bridges by building a temporary bridge off to the side so traffic will not be slowed down and then haul in some more steel to work on the bridges and then weld the steel to the bridge and make the road go from a double lane to a Quad Lane Bridge and once the bridge has converted from a double lane to a quad lane Bridge then Re - open the Bridge because i think the only reason that people are tearing down the Iron and Steel Bridges and replacing them with those eyesore concrete bridges is because they are too narrow to handle all the traffic at once. so i think the only problem is that the Bridges are too narrow and widening the Bridges is the answer, not replacing them

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted February 22, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Tony - No wonder we get along well. I detest narrowing bridges for trail use too.

In regards to this discussion, widening a truss bridge is equally undesirable. Normally, truss bridges cannot be widened without providing additional support systems and if its a through truss you end up decimating the overhead bracing design.

The appropriate solution here at US-31 where the issue is heavy traffic and the need for more lanes, is to build a new bridge next to the truss bridge and use each for one way traffic (one-way couplet)

Andy - If you are curious to see where a truss was widened, check out these bridges:

http://www.historicbridges.org/newjersey/bloomsbury/index.ht...

http://www.historicbridges.org/newjersey/riverroad/index.htm

The first bridge had to be rendered decorative by placing beams underneath to bear the load (typical if a truss needs to be widened). The second bridge is a rare example where a truss was widened but still functions as a truss bridge.

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted February 22, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

A novel idea at best, as I doubt we will ever see anything like this happen.

I have seen some "narrowed" for use on a trail....and I absolutely despise it! There is no reason an historic bridge cannot be left at it's original width with the trail tapering out to it. This not only allows for pedestrians to pass in both directions, but also for people to stand at the sides and look out at the view.

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted February 22, 2011, by Andy

I've never really heard or seen a bridge where the actually cut it in two widened the center and added more steel. Does anyone know of specific bridges where this has been done, it sounds very interesting.

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted February 21, 2011, by Anonymous

One day i got the Columbus Republic Newspaper and i looked at the front page and said that Highway Department was going to do some road widening and the way that the Republic worded it was that the road widening was going to be on the North side of the bridge and so therefore as someone were to be going into Columbus the road would get wider and when someone leaves Columbus the road would get narrower on the south side of the bridge and the highway department was not going to do anything to the bridge unless maybe repaint the bridge while working on the highway so therefore i am totally surprised that is not there any longer, I wish people would widen the Steel Bridges insead of tearing them down and they would do that by building a temporary bridge beside the bridge they are working on then haul more steel in and split the iron / steel bridge in 1/2 then weld the steel to widen the bridge and make it twice as wide then reopen it instead of putting those eyesore concrete bridges where alot of the time people/passengers cannot see the creek or river when they cross the bridge

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted October 4, 2010, by Tom Hoffman (tehoffm [at] hotmail [dot] com)

A sad site to see last Sat(10/2). First half of new bridge open and the north approach removed as well as the deck. With all of the Parker trusses of Columbus gone UCEBs will make the towns history and architecture hard to notice. Any two lane highway Parker truss could be located elsewhere to connect two subdivisions or even a twin could have been constructed beside it.

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted April 4, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Sufficiency of 63%? Superstructure rating = Satisfactory? This one is destined for the scrap heap to be sure.

Clifty Creek US 31 Bridge
Posted April 3, 2010, by Tom Hoffman (tehoffm [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Hate to say it! I was driving in the area and it appears a UCEB is being constructed on one side. Quite a shame but not really a surprise as US 31 widening projects have been in talks for years. Columbus looked great when it had a lot of highway Parker trusses. This would make a great street bridge. I don't know, but I'm hoping the bridge at least gets dismatled and stored instead of meet the same fate as the Haw and Flatrock bridges that were on this road.