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Covington US 136 Bridge

Photos 

Wabash River, Covington, Indiana

View this photo at brisray.com

BH Photo #183722

Map 

Description 

A ferry was used after the old covered bridge as seen in the first three pictures was burned down and the new truss bridge was being built.

Facts 

Overview
Lost through truss bridge over Wabash River on US 136 at Covington
Location
Covington, Warren County, Indiana, and Fountain County, Indiana
Status
Replaced by new bridge
History
Built 1916 to replace an earlier covered bridge, replaced in 1978
Design
Six-span Iron Pennsylvania through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.14002, -87.40539   (decimal degrees)
40°08'24" N, 87°24'19" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/465466/4443377 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Covington
Inventory number
BH 46715 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 7, 2010: New Street View added by Craig Philpott
  • October 27, 2010: Added by James Norwood

Sources 

  • James Norwood
  • Craig Philpott - craigphilpott63 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Jacob P. Bernard

Comments 

Covington US 136 Bridge
Posted December 11, 2010, by Jacob P. Bernard (jacob_bernard [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I don't think that picture #4 was one of this bridge. In the picture, it had a flat top, not like this bridge, as a Pennsylvania truss has a curved top. I checked the website for the picture and it doesn't say the town where the bridge is located, it only says it is in Fountain County and crosses the Wabash River.

Covington US 136 Bridge
Posted December 10, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The bridge was located on the Warren-Fountain County line, with the Northeast tip of Vermillion County about a mile to the South.

Covington US 136 Wabash River Bridge
Posted November 6, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

The truss bridge was on a circular route that I rode on my bicycle. Iíd ride Danville to Covington, then head south and cross the Wabash at Perrysville and head back to Danville. It was a narrow bridge. It was barely wide enough for two cars, but definitely not two cars and a bicycle. Iíd wait at one end of the bridge until there was a big break in traffic, then try to ride as fast as I could across the bridge. It wasnít easy to keep up speed because the concrete deck was in such bad shape that it had a lot of cracks and potholes. By the time I got to the end of the bridge there was usually a car on my tail.

The covered bridge burned down on October 11, 1914 and ferry service was started until a new bridge could be built. According to a September 16, 1915 article, the county commissioners asked the bridge contractor to make the bridge available to the public as fast as possible. The ferry had worked well until the beginning of the year, but there were problems in paying for the service. The article reports that the ferry was supposed to be free to the public, but there was a conflict between the board of county commissioners and the county council. The contractor agreed to open the bridge on September 20, 1915. The approaches werenít finished but planks were put in place to provide access to the bridge. The bridge cost $32,000, and was called, despite what the caption info on the postcard says, "the best steel bridge on the Wabash river, north of Terre Haute." The day the bridge opened was the last day for the ferry, and it was moved north of Covington to "the Ferguson place and will be operated there, for the benefit of the community in that part of this and Warren County."

Something was done to the bridge in the 1930ís. The newspaper says it was "expanded", and I have no idea what that means.

The narrowness of the bridge became a problem with modern traffic, and the bridge was replaced in 1978. It remained in place while its replacement was built. On Monday, September 16, it was scheduled for demolition by a Maryland firm. They were going to use explosives provided by NASA. They would use gel explosives to disintegrate the piers and abutments and shape charges to cut through the metal on the superstructure. They also contracted with MGM to film the demolition. MGM would retain the rights to the film to use in any movie that required a bridge blowing up. MGM was also the reason the demolition didnít take place on Monday. By the time they got their film equipment set up the light wasnít right, so the actual demolition took place Tuesday, September 17th and was witnessed by hundreds of people. The steel recovered from the bridge amounted to about $30,000.

The UCEB that replaced it was also innovative - IF ANYBODY CARES. It was the first use in the United States of the "incrementally launched" concept of bridge building developed in Germany. Segments of the prestressed concrete box girder was poured in a casting bed on the west bank of the river, and hydraulically pushed across piers and towers to the west bank. The new bridge cost $3.3 million and is 935 feet long. It was built by Weddle Brothers and Ralph Rogers Construction Companies, of Bloomington, IN. VSL Corporation of Los Gatos, CA designed the bridge and Marvin Matalisk of the Indiana Highway Department was the project engineer.