Rating:
2 votes

Norridgewock Bridge

Photos 

Demolition.

Photo taken by Maine Department of Transportation

BH Photo #176809

Map 

Street View 

Description 

This bridge was one of only three rainbow arch bridges and the longest rainbow arch bridge in Maine when it was demolished, and one of the few rainbow arches in the entire New England and Mid-Atlantic Region. It also was significant for an unusual reinforcing detail at the shoes of the bridge. The bridge also contributed to an eligible National Register Historic District. The bridge was also featured on numerous community logos, banners, and signs. Adding to its extremely high level of historic significance was the fact that it was designed by Llewellyn N. Edwards, the first State Bridge Engineer of Maine, who is also considered a nationally significant bridge engineer.

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.

Facts 

Overview
Rainbow arch bridge over Kennebec River on US 201A/ME 8 in Norridgewock
Location
Norridgewock, Somerset County, Maine
Status
Replaced by new bridge
History
Built 1928, replaced in 2011
Builder
- Llewelyn N. Edwards
Design
Four span reinforced concrete tied through arch, 102' foot spans with four concrete t-beam approach spans of 31' each. Bridge clearance over average river level was 40'. Bridge had 2' 5" cantilevered sidewalks on each side.
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 109.9 ft.
Total length: 588.9 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.2 ft.
Recognition
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Covered Bridge
Kennebec River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.71697, -69.79727   (decimal degrees)
44°43'01" N, 69°47'50" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/436854/4951819 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Norridgewock
Inventory numbers
ME 2187 (Maine bridge number)
BH 19919 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 08/2008)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 17.0 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2007)
6,715

Update Log 

  • July 31, 2011: New Street View added by Craig Philpott
  • July 29, 2011: New photo from Luke Harden
  • September 28, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added Info From HAER Documentation.
  • September 8, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: Updated/fixed bridge type and status.
  • February 9, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: Bridge has been replaced.

Comments 

Norridgewock Bridge
Posted July 2, 2017, by Caleb Baker (calebnlbakervt [at] gmail [dot] com)
Norridgewock Bridge
Posted January 29, 2014, by a.noonie mis tip

there's a abadoned through truss up in north anson.

Norridgewock Bridge
Posted August 1, 2011, by Michael Goff (michael [dot] goff [at] odot [dot] state [dot] or [dot] us)

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

1. Rehabilitation

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.

Norridgewock Bridge
Posted July 31, 2011, by Craig Philpott (cphilpott [at] puc [dot] edu)

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.

Norridgewock Bridge
Posted July 31, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

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.

Norridgewock Bridge
Posted July 31, 2011, by JM

Sounds like someone works for MDOT

Norridgewock Bridge
Posted July 22, 2011, by Catherine M (catherine [dot] mettey [at] maine [dot] gov)

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.

Norridgewock Bridge
Posted September 27, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

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...

Attachment #1 (application/pdf; 5,926,790 bytes)

Norridgewock Bridge
Posted September 27, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

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.

Norridgewock Bridge
Posted September 20, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Funny...... It doesn't look like a covered bridge!

Norridgewock Bridge
Posted September 20, 2010, by David A. Shaw (scpry1 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This is the website for the project:

http://www.maine.gov/mdot/ncb/index.htm