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Sparks Road Bridge

Photos 

From the East

Photo taken by gtg362i in March 2010

Enlarge

BH Photo #193308

Map 

Description 

Features unique laced endposts not often seen on WIBC structures.

Facts 

Overview
Pratt through truss (with added arch) over Gunpowder Falls on Sparks Road
Location
Baltimore County, Maryland
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1888; rehabilitated 1990
Builder
- Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton, Ohio
Design
Pinned Pratt through truss with an added steel reinforcing arch. Original bridge is likely wrought iron.
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 174.9 ft.
Total length: 178.2 ft.
Deck width: 15.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.0 ft.
Recognition
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:
Hereford
Inventory number
BH 19608 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 02/2014)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Appraisal: Functionally obsolete
Sufficiency rating: 68.4 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2013)
1,100

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

Sources 

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

Comments 

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 ;)