Photo taken by Anthony Dillon in June 2006
BH Photo #118452
Found some more pictures:
I am sorry but that is just stupid. Not because the railings block the view of the bottom chord connections which exhibit extraordinary details (which they do). But, why bother putting railings on a bridge that you don't care about restoring? People won't fall off the bridge, but does that matter if the whole bridge collapses? And if the decision is made to restore the bridge properly such that the bridge is dismantled and restored in shop, these railings are just one more thing the contractor has to remove. Supplemental railings should have been included as part of a full restoration contract... more costly, but at the same time less redundant costs = better value to taxpayers.
My photo here shows both complex bottom chord connection and what appears to be significant deterioration... although it was late in the day and I didn't have time for a detailed assessment.
Found this snapshot on Flickr and recognized the bridge:
The new railing is really not appropriate for the bridge.
There was supposed to be a complete rehab of this bridge in the works. I know that Barker submitted a proposal several years back that included complete replication of all the decorative cast portal elements. With the loss of the Howard Bridge in Ohio a couple years ago this is likely the oldest remaining Columbia Bridge Works span. I would assume that budget restraints have hurt these plans.
As for the MOB...that is indeed very short-sighted on their part. Like Michigan, Indiana has numerous pony trusses available that would fit the bill here perfectly.
A contract has been let to add a modern railing to this bridge. The original railing will be left in place. Also, the contract includes the construction of a 50 foot M.O.B. on the trailway that this bridge serves. It is unclear why a historic bridge is not being used for this purpose, however I am extremely disappointed. We have several abandoned historic bridges in Michigan that are around 50 foot in length that could have been used.