Rating:
4 votes

Bardwell's Ferry Bridge

Photos 

Detail Of West End Of Truss, Showing Truss Configuration, Looking Northeast

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #128092

Map 

Description 

Located in northeastern MA is this well preserved lenticular through truss bridge that is an excellent example of preservation of a historic bridge while maintaining functionality for traffic. Built in 1882 by the Corrugated Metal Company (a year before the company changed its name to the Berlin Iron Bridge Co.) to replace an earlier wooden structure. this bridge employees a large through truss span and also a smaller pony plate girder approach span. The bridge is located high over the river, giving a beautiful setting. Thankfully this bridge retains an good amount of historical integrity, making this a significant structure. This bridge is a perfect example of how a historical bridge can be rehabilitated and and maintained for continued service, and should serve as a model for other significant bridges.

The main span is a 13 panel truss with a length of 193 feet, making it the among the longest single span lenticular truss remaining with Pratt truss webbing built by the Berlin Iron Bridge Co. Perhaps because of its longer length this bridge exhibits a quite strong construction, with doubled up paired eyebars for the lower chord (instead of the more common single pair), which was only found on bridges built for heavy traffic.

The approach span is a girder span at about 30 feet in length. With the last rehabilitation this span was rendered non-load bearing. However HAER documentation from 1990 shows that the span was formerly more classically designed with a floorbeam/stringer configuration. While at first glance this might appear to be a more modern addition, this span appears to be original to the structure. According to later catalogs, girder spans were the preferred method for spans shorter then 35ft, and the design does match roadway girder spans fabricated by BIBCo.

The bridge, as noted, retains a reasonably good amount of historical integrity, especially when it is considered that the bridge is still open to traffic. The bridge is a little more plain looking then other models; Decorative details common to Berlin Iron Bridges (such as cast iron finials, portal cresting, railings, and builders plaque are absent on this bridge. In this case it works though, as given its rural location its more utilitarian appearance fits in nicely. About the largest modification was the floorsystem, which is a completely modern galvanized system. However this was done tastefully, the original floorbeams are still in tact and used, and the functioning of the truss has not been affected.

Facts 

Overview
Pin-connected Lenticular through truss bridge over Deerfield River on Bardwell's Ferry Road in Conway
Location
Franklin County, Massachusetts
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1882 by the Berlin Iron Bridge Co.; rehabilitated 1995
Builders
- Berlin Iron Bridge Co. of East Berlin, Connecticut
- Corrugated Metal Co. of East Berlin, Connecticut [also known as Berlin Iron Bridge Co.]
Design
Lenticular through truss with pony girder approach span
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 192.9 ft.
Total length: 230.0 ft.
Deck width: 14.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 12.2 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on February 10, 2000
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.55561, -72.67764   (decimal degrees)
42°33'20" N, 72°40'40" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/690654/4714081 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Shelburne Falls
Inventory numbers
NRHP 00000076 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
MA C20017 (Massachusetts bridge number)
BH 19280 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 07/2015)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 25.4 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
400

Update Log 

  • November 1, 2015: New photo from Ian Martin
  • June 24, 2015: New photos from Michael Quiet
  • May 1, 2014: Updated by Michael Quiet: Added categories "Pin-connected", "Wrought Iron"
  • November 22, 2008: New photos from James Baughn

Sources 

  • HAER MA-98 - Bardwell's Ferry Bridge, Spanning Deerfield River on Bardwell's Ferry Road, Shelburne, Franklin County, MA
  • James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
  • Wikipedia
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Michael Quiet - mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Ian Martin