"Carrying the two lanes and sidewalk of Old US 21 over Elkin city streets, an active railroad line, and the Yadkin River, the Hugh G. Chatham Bridge was one of North Carolina's more imposing historic bridges. Its 24 spans totaled 1,509 feet in length. Rising high over the Yadkin were its two steel spans, each 151-foot-long, rivet-connected, Parker through trusses. To their south, across the Yadkin from Elkin, stood a single 49-foot-long, tee beam approach span. Twenty-one tee beam spans ranging in length from 49 to 62 feet, complete with concrete balustrades, extended to the north of the trusses. Such a large number was required to straddle streets and tracks without impeding them. The city-side approach spans were supported by two-column piers, clearly visible from city streets. The piers at the river spans also stood on two-column piers that were filled between by concrete web walls.
The bridge was built in 1931 by the State Highway Commission to improve the US 21 crossing of the Yadkin River and relieve traffic congestion over the only other crossing of the river, which stood one block to the west. That previous bridge was initially left in place, but it was subsequently replaced with a modern bridge. This bridge followed it into memory when it was demolished in 2010. The bridge was one of the Commission's larger bridge projects of the 1920s and 1930s. Like many projects on primary state highways, it was built with funding provided by the Federal-Aid Road Act of 1916. It was named after industrialist and philanthropist Hugh G. Chatham of Elkin, who passed away in 1929 at about the time its design and construction began."-NCDOT
What if we could get the town to agree to delay the demolition so that a group of concerned citizens could look into the possiblility of saving the bridge as a bike/pedestrian greenway site. The location fits in perfectly with the greenway master plan. It seems to me that so far, all the engineering inspections have been pointed towards re-opening it as a traffic bridge but maybe the cost would be less as a greenway. If we can show the way to reduce liabiltity and cost to the town, I think they would agree to save it. It's an icon so closely identified to the Town of Elkin that it's image is on the Elkin Seal.
I visited this bridge Mar 2010. It looks to me like
the downstream beams were encased in concrete when a
Sidewalk was added. An attached photo shows the
expensive to repair result.
From what I can tell this bridge will not be removed until 2010, probably due to the scant transportation budget. I guess there isn't enough money for superfluous projects like tearing down historic bridges that aren't in the way of anything. Still, it'll be a pile of scrap someday, sadly.
AMEN with that brother!!
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." Proverbs 29:18.
Sadly, Terence Mann, the James Earl Jones character in the movie Field of Dreams summed it up pretty well when he said, "America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again."
Which is why we continue to inexplicably destroy our heritage. Europe has cathedrals and castles and yes, bridges, that are centuries old and have withstood the ravages of time, weather and war.
But here? No, too many of our leaders lack the vision to recognize such structures as part of our heritage, they see such structures simply as eyesores to be destroyed (at taxpayer expense) and replaced (at taxpayer expense) with new structures that serve the same purpose as the old ones that they destroyed.
What sense does that make?
As citizens, we are told we must recycle plastic bottles, bags, newspapers, boxes, cans and other materials, but our leaders do not recycle old bridges, they just throw them away.
It's just rediculous.
This bridge is supposedly scheduled to be removed this year, though I don't know for certain. It's pretty ridiculous, since it seems it would make a nice pedestrian crossing of the river. I noticed that the city council of Elkin voted unanimously to have it removed. I guess they think that such a bridge is an "eyesore," completely missing the beauty of v-lacing in the top members among other things, or the fact that a bridge of this type is a novelty in this state. Instead of a local attraction, they'll be left with street stubs that lead to nowhere. Ridiculous.