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Sparks Road Bridge


From the East

Photo taken by gtg362i in March 2010


BH Photo #193308



Features unique laced endposts not often seen on WIBC structures.


Pratt through truss (with added arch) over Gunpowder Falls on Sparks Road
Baltimore County, Maryland
Open to traffic
Built 1888; rehabilitated 1990
- Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton, Ohio
Pinned Pratt through truss with an added steel reinforcing arch. Original bridge is likely wrought iron.
Length of largest span: 174.9 ft.
Total length: 178.2 ft.
Deck width: 15.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.0 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.54000, -76.63833   (decimal degrees)
39°32'24" N, 76°38'18" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/359214/4377985 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2013)
Inventory number
BH 19608 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of February 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 66 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • July 7, 2015: New photos from David McCardell
  • February 5, 2011: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Changed truss type to reflect how the bridge was originally designed.
  • February 5, 2011: Updated by James Gonzalski: Added Builder


  • James Gonzalski
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • David McCardell - mccardelldavid [at] gmail [dot] com


Sparks Road Bridge
Posted February 6, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

If you look at the rehab date... adding these arches seems to have been more popular in the 1980s and 1990s... earlier preservation efforts. I don't think they are used as often today. That has been my impression.

Sparks Road Bridge
Posted February 5, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Another one of those spans that raises the question(s).....

Was adding arches the only way to save this bridge from an otherwise unforeseen fate........ Was this the brain-child of an insensitive and uncaring engineer...... Or was it merely the most affordable option?

I guess it's like the whole "Is the cup half empty or half full" analogy. I have tried to dull my senses a little to the pretense of there being a "right" way to do something, and just attempt to find solace in the sheer existence of the aforementioned span.

.....Now I can go back to reading about Schrödinger's cat ;)