Edwards, who favored beautiful bridges, was quoted as saying "Let us place a little more care upon the design and construction of our bridges. Let us make them worthy of our day and of our civilization."
These words were clearly lost on MaineDOT today with the demolition of this nationally significant bridge and replacement with a modern bridge with no heritage value whatsoever, but perhaps they will serve as inspiration to preserve beautiful bridges such as this elsewhere.
I have to side with Craig on this one. The new bridge does pay some respect to the historic value of the previous bridge. While the modern arch designs are never as ornate or attractive as the bridges of the 20ís and 30ís, they do provide a modern elegance that is not shown in typical design.
While I would have loved to see the old structure rehabilitated or left in place, replacement was the path chosen. I feel the modern arch is a much better alternative than an entirely pre-stressed girder bridge or some post-tension box structure. I imagine in a hundred years the next generation of bridge enthusiast will be excited about the new tied arch structure just as we are about the old one.
I always try to look at these types of structures in regards to their place in history. If the designers of the past would not have utilized their new technology and left or just replaced every timber truss and trestle we would have never gotten the elegant concrete arches of the 20ís and 30ís. If the modern designers do not implement new technology in their designs our ability to create and innovate becomes stagnant.
My hierarchy of preferable historic bridge projects
2. Leave in place as a pedestrian bridge and realign onto a new design that pay tribute to the former.
3. Recycle the old bridge in a new location (if possible)
4. Replace with a modern design that pays tribute to the former.
I respectfully disagree with the comment that the new bridge shows "no" respect for the previous historical bridge. Clearly the new bridge does show a level of historical reference in the design of the visible through truss design. Knowing nothing of the geography of the location, leaving the old bridge intact may or may not have been an option in this case, I do not know.
I fail to see how a modern single span arch bridge with cable suspenders and pre-stressed AASHTO girder approach spans shows anything but a complete ignorance for the historic value of the multi-span concrete rainbow arch structure that was demolished. Maybe the modern bridge is "attractive" for a modern bridge, but it offers no level of interpretation or understanding of the historic bridge it replaced.
Sounds like someone works for MDOT
The MaineDOT took great care in maintaining the historical significance of the Norridgewock Bridge. Your comment about our constructing an ordinary bridge to replace the historical 1928 tied arch bridge is inaccurate. See attached photo of the new structure.
Attached is the Historic American Engineering Record Data Pages for this bridge, provided by Maine. Library of Congress has not yet added this HAER documentation to the HAER website. Its only been a mere three years since it was submitted after all...
View attachment #1 (PDF document, version 1.2, 5926790 bytes)
I found out this bridge was locally called the Covered Bridge because the former bridge was a covered bridge. People were used to calling it that I guess, and it stuck around for the next century as well.
Funny...... It doesn't look like a covered bridge!
This is the website for the project: