Rating:
No votes cast

Gardiner-Randolph Bridge (1853)

Photos 

Kennebeck River Bridge

Maine

Photo taken by Douglas Butler in June 2013

Enlarge

BH Photo #290116

Description 

The covered portion of the bridge was 732 feet long.

Bits and Pieces: The Complicated History of the Gardiner-Randolph Bridge 

Written by Paul Plassman

In September 1853, the first bridge was completed over the Kennebec River between the towns of Gardiner on the west bank and Randolph on the east. This was an 899, five-span bridge, with the main span consisting of a hand-operated iron Howe pony truss span that pivoted to open for navigation. The other four spans were two-lane, double-barreled covered Howe through trusses totaling 732, one on the west side of the swing span and three on the east. The Howe trusses proved insufficient in strength and arches were added in 1855. Further repairs were done in 1873 and 1883. Originally a privately owned toll bridge, it was purchased in 1887 by the two towns it connected, who then made it a free bridge.

On March 2, 1896, the two Howe through trusses immediately east of the swing span were destroyed in a massive flood, leaving the two end spans and the pivot span. The Berlin Iron Bridge Co. erected two steel, pin-connected Pennsylvania truss spans in their place for $27,833. Following this, in 1907 the outmoded pivot span was replaced with a larger 168 steel swing span built by the West Virginia Bridge Co. for $8,862. This pivot span, instead of being a flimsy Howe truss supported when open by cable stays, consisted of massive riveted Warren through trusses with drooping top chords, creating the appearance of one half of a cantilever truss bridge.

In 1926 another major reconstruction project took place. The swing span was retained, but the covered span on the west (Gardiner) end of the bridge was replaced with two concrete beam spans, with the fascia beams and rails incorporating Art Deco detailing. The covered span on the east (Randolph) end of the bridge was also removed and replaced with a concrete approach and retaining walls. The substructure of the bridge was also completely replaced at this time. At some later date the swing span was replaced with a polygonal Warren through truss pivot span.

The present bridge, a large 1,000 steel girder structure, was built several hundred feet upstream in 1980 and the old bridge was demolished.

As best as can be determined, the many iterations of this bridge were thus as follows:

1853-1896: 4 timber Howe through truss spans & 1 pivot span, all from 1853

1896-1907: 2 timber Howe through truss spans & 1 pivot span from 1853; 2 steel Pennsylvania through truss spans from 1896

1907-1926: 2 timber Howe through truss spans from 1853; 2 steel Pennsylvania through truss spans from 1896; 1 steel pivot span from 1907

1926-Unknown Pre-WWII date: 2 steel Pennsylvania through truss spans from 1896; 1 steel pivot span from 1907; concrete beam approaches from 1926

Unknown Pre WWII date-1980: 2 steel Pennsylvania through truss spans from 1896; concrete beam approaches from 1926; 1 steel pivot span from unknown pre-WWII date

1980-Present: Entire bridge from 1980

Facts 

Overview
Lost Howe swing pony truss and Howe through truss bridge over Kennebec River on ME-27
Location
Gardiner, Kennebec County, Maine
Status
Destroyed by flooding
History
Built 1850 or 1853 by Stephen Young as four Howe truss spans and one pivot span; two Howe trusses washed out March 2, 1896 and replaced by steel; draw span replaced soon after; last two covered spans replaced 1926
Builder
- Stephen Young
Design
Covered two-lane combination of Howe through truss and pony truss pivot spans
East to west:
3 covered Howe through truss spans
1 180' Howe pony truss pivot span
1 covered Howe through truss span
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 180.0 ft.
Total length: 899.0 ft.
Also called
Brunswick Avenue Bridge
Bridge Street Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.23038, -69.76888   (decimal degrees)
44°13'49" N, 69°46'08" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/438594/4897748 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Gardiner
Inventory number
BH 62197 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 8, 2022: New photos from Paul Plassman
  • February 4, 2022: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • August 1, 2014: New Street View added by Douglas Butler

Related Bridges 

Sources 

Comments 

Gardiner-Randolph Bridge (1853)
Posted August 8, 2022, by Paul Plassman

Considering Maine's track record in that realm, that's pretty fast!

Gardiner-Randolph Bridge (1853)
Posted August 8, 2022, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

At BridgeHunter we fix problems faster than Maine demolishes truss bridges!

Gardiner-Randolph Bridge (1853)
Posted August 8, 2022, by Paul Plassman

Thanks, that was fast!

Gardiner-Randolph Bridge (1853)
Posted August 8, 2022, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I moved the photo and deleted the other page.

Gardiner-Randolph Bridge (1853)
Posted August 8, 2022, by Paul Plassman

Douglas, I merged everything I could over to this page since yours was the original. I put in a request for one of the admins to move Stewart's photo onto this page so everything should be in one place.

Kennebeck River Bridge
Posted August 8, 2022, by Douglas Butler

Hey Paul or somebody

You can merge this page to the Gardiner Randolph Bridge.

Kennebeck River Bridge
Posted February 4, 2022, by Douglas Butler

Paul,

I believe they are two different similar bridges.

Kennebeck River Bridge
Posted February 4, 2022, by Paul Plassman

Douglas,

Was this page meant to be for the original 1853 covered/swing span Gardiner-Randolph Bridge, as the photo you added today indicates? If so, I inadvertently added a duplicate page depicting this bridge this morning: https://bridgehunter.com/me/kennebec/bh96361/

I can migrate the photos and data I input over to this page if it is indeed of the same bridge. However, there appear to be some inaccuracies on this page such as the design type--for this iteration of the bridge, it was a Howe pony swing, not a polygonal Warren. I just need to know which bridge this page is meant to cover so I know what data to input. (The Gardiner-Randolph crossing IS a bit of a challenge to document because it appears the bridge was never replaced whole, but rather in bits and pieces on several different occasions, which is why there seems to be so many interconnected pages with parts of previous and successor bridges on them for the crossing!)

Kennebeck River Bridge
Posted February 4, 2022, by Chester Gehman (gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I believe the cofusion stems from the incorrect naming of this bridge. Brunswick Avenue Bridge is more appropriate, and it crosses Cobbosse Stream, not the Kennebec River, in Gardiner.

Whether Doglas' drawing depicts this bridge, I don't know.

Kennebeck River Bridge
Posted February 4, 2022, by Paul Plassman

I'm not sure what's going on with this page...the information appears to refer to BH 87122, the drawing looks like it is for BH 96361, and the pin and street view appear to be located at a completely different bridge site.