Authorities say the bridge recently underwent structural analysis and they believe insurance should cover the cost of repairs.
The bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Link to original article:
Voting will commence in December but in two parts:
Part 1 will focus on the 2016 Awards candidates themselves, while Part 2 will feature the voting of all of the winners and runners-up in each category dating back to 2011, where the top six in each will be inducted into the Chronicles' Hall of Fame, a special section where every five years, six candidates will be inducted for the US as well as international. This does not apply for Lifetime Achievement as the winners are automatically inducted annually. More to come when the voting process starts. Get your cameras out, take your kids on tours and let's see some gorgeous bridges! :-)
Under the bill, the likeness of every government structure within Michigan -- including bridges on public roads -- will be protected by copyright, making it illegal to take photos without obtaining express written consent of a newly created state office, the Copyright Revenue Adjustment Panel.
According to the bill's preamble, the legislation has several goals, including:
In a press release, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Leonard "Lirpa" Sloof, explained that he got the idea after seeing a barrage of newspaper articles and TV segments using stock footage of deteriorating lead pipes in Flint. "This whole Flint water incident has been a convenient way for out-of-state media to pursue their anti-Michigan propaganda," he explained. "But then it dawned on me: we can just claim those lead pipes are government property and we should be able to control who takes photos of them."
He added: "It's all about the children. I don't want any anybody to whine that this violates the First Amendment. The Constitution specifically allows for enforcing copyright, and that's exactly what we're doing here."
Bridgehunter.com is currently discussing options with legal counsel. If the law goes into effect, it will be necessary to blur all Michigan bridge photos, or remove them outright. Our legal team is also researching the possibility of relabeling all Michigan bridges as actually being located in a neighboring state, like Ohio.
The Mighty Mac Bridge of "Toledo, Ohio"
In addition, to commemorate the Chronicles' five-year anniversary, a special category will be added in the voting mix: The Top Five Historic Bridges one should see and The Top Five Places with a large number of historic bridges. These will be based on the top three bridge candidates that had been entered in the Ammann Awards per year since its launch in 2011. They will be added to the voting ballot.
For further questions or to submit your entry for the Ammann Awards, please contact Jason Smith either by using the contact form below:
or directly via e-mail. Enjoy the new website that has been relaunched recently and may we have some cool pics and interesting bridge entries coming our way. Happy Bridgehunting!
Photo: Cincinnati Fire Department
The semi-driver was injured when his rig collided with the rubble. Had he been a few seconds earlier, the results might have been quite different.
"What appears to have happened is, in essence, an industrial incident – a workplace incident with respect to a construction crew that's doing work out here," city manager Harry Black said. "Something went wrong, and a tragedy has occurred as a result. ... We don't believe that there is any additional loss of life."
City officials expect the highway to be closed for at least 48 hours while the investigation and cleanup takes place.
(Sources: Cincinnati Enquirer, WHIO News, various wire services)
As always, these changes may have introduced weird bugs. Please let me know if something is out of whack.
In no particular order, here are the 2014 TRUSS Award winners:
Asylum Bridge (Osawatomie, Miami County, Kansas)
The bridge: Despite having the appearance of a cantilever, this unique bridge has been classified as a "Reverse Parker", or a Parker truss where the top chord swoops downward instead of up. Built in 1905 by the Kansas City Bridge Co., it's unclear why this peculiar design was chosen, especially with a relatively short main span (120 feet) which could have easily accommodated a simple Pratt truss.
The significance: This is the only known bridge of its type in the U.S., making this a no-brainer for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
The situation: The Asylum Bridge has remained abandoned for some years. Photos suggest that the stone piers are deteriorating, which could jeopardize the bridge.
The plan: Miami County has an excellent collection of historic bridges, especially around Osawatomie. Last year, the nearby Creamery Bridge was rehabilitated, and comments in the newspaper suggest that the county commissioners understand the value of historic bridges. If the Asylum Bridge were to be repaired and reopened to pedestrians, Miami County will be sitting pretty.
Republican River U.P. Crossing Bridge (Cloud County, Kansas)
The bridge: Built for the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad in 1894, this bridge features three pin-connected Pratt through trusses. Despite its location near the more famous Republican River Pegram Truss, this bridge has remained overlooked.
The significance: This is one of a tiny population of truss bridges attributed to the Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago.
The situation: Although the bridge appears structurally sound, it is abandoned and overgrown. Similar bridges have been dismantled in the past for scrap value with little or no warning.
The plan: Designed to support locomotives, the superstructure on this bridge is likely sound enough to handle pedestrians. With a new deck and railings, this bridge could be reopened for pedestrian use, making it a perfect companion for the nearby Pegram Truss bridge.
Aulwurm Drive Bridge (Cook County, Illinois)
The bridge: Nicknamed the "Blue Bridge", this was built as a four-span Warren pony truss, but one of the spans has collapsed and the other three are in appalling condition due to deterioration and visits from metal thieves.
The significance: This is a rare example of a multi-span pony truss bridge of any kind in the Chicago area.
The situation: It seems likely that the remaining spans will eventually collapse under their own weight without repairs.
The plan: A report from 2012, the Blue Island Active Transportation Plan, advocates the possibility (p. 33) of restoring the bridge for bicycle/pedestrian access to Jackson Street on the south side. It notes, "Jackson Street is closed westbound at Ashland Avenue, yet Calumet Township continues to collect tax for its maintenance. The township can return value to Blue Island residents by paying for reopening of Jackson Street as a nonmotorized route and participating in the reconstruction of the Blue Bridge as a bicycle and pedestrian crossing."
Mosquito Road Bridge (El Dorado County, California)
The bridge: Located at a scenic stretch of the South Fork American River, this one-lane suspension bridge was built in 1939.
The significance: Featuring timber floor beams, stringers, and deck, this bridge more closely resembles a rustic 1800s-era bridge than something from the 1930s.
The situation: Sitting in the middle of a sharp S-curve and having a deck width of only 9 feet, local officials have wanted to replace the bridge for many years. According to the official project website, however, no decision has been made.
The plan: Mosquito Road near the bridge features sharp switchbacks, so it seems likely that a replacement bridge would be built at a high level over the canyon to eliminate these curves. If indeed the new bridge is built on a different alignment, it should be feasible to keep the old bridge in place for pedestrian use (or even light traffic) to enjoy this scenic location.
Savanna-Sabula Bridge (Carroll County, Illinois, and Jackson County, Iowa)
The bridge: This is a large cantilever through truss over the Mississippi River featuring a partial K-truss design. It was opened to traffic on the last day of 1932.
The significance: Cantilevered trusses as well as K-trusses are both rapidly disappearing.
The situation: Construction on a replacement bridge is slated to begin 2015. The Illinois Department of Transportation offered the old bridge for adaptive reuse, but with ridiculous strings attached -- it must be completely removed within 30 days and then reassembled and maintained forever. Such a short time frame to carefully dismantle this massive bridge is virtually impossible, and would represent a truly remarkable feat in the history of civil engineering.
The plan: This bridge received the most nominations of any other bridge, but it's going to require a very well-organized campaign to have any hope of saving this one.
Fort Atkinson Bridge (Winneshiek County, Iowa)
The bridge: Built in 1892 by D.H. Young of Manchester, Iowa, this Pratt through truss features elaborate decorations above the portals.
The significance: The Iowa Historic Bridge Inventory reports that this NRHP-listed bridge is distinguished "for its relatively early erection date, well-preserved condition and the decorative iron cresting on its portals." This is a rare remaining work of D.H. Young, a civil engineer and bridge builder who later became a state representative and senator.
The situation: The bridge was closed to traffic in March 2013 after failing an inspection due to "corrosion of bridge materials." Plans are underway to replace the bridge.
The plan: Sitting next to a city park, it makes sense to build a replacement bridge on a new alignment and leave the historic bridge in place for pedestrian use.
Clear Creek Bridge (Shelby County, Kentucky)
The bridge: This is an authentic 90-ft Bailey truss relocated from an unknown location, perhaps in 1982, and set on existing stone piers.
The significance: Although the exact history of this span remains a mystery, the bridge is marked with the names of two British companies: Thos. Storey Engineers Ltd of Manchester (shown by patent plaque) and Appleby-Frodingham Steel Co. of Lincolnshire (steel brand). This strongly implies that the structure was imported from England as World War II era surplus. The British plaques make this an exceptionally rare bridge.
The situation: The bridge is closed to all traffic with a barricade at one end and a chain-link fence at the other.
The plan: Bailey bridges were intended to be portable, and that feature would come in handy if a new home can be found for this structure.
Bridge Theater (Washington County, New York)
The bridge: This bridge spans Lock 12 of the Champlain Canal at Whitehall, New York. It is a double-intersection Warren through truss built in 1911.
The significance: Although historic in its own right, this bridge is also notable for how it was used in modern times: as a performing arts center. When the bridge was closed to traffic in 1999, civic leaders spearheaded the ingenious idea of converting it into a theater. An enclosure was built inside the trusses, providing seating capacity for 60 people. This unique venue operated until 2009, when the bridge failed inspection and was completely shut down.
The situation: The theater enclosure has been removed and the bridge is in danger of demolition.
The plan: It may take another ingenious idea, but hopefully this bridge can be preserved in place. It would be a shame to lose it now after all that was done to save it the first time.
Ferry Street Bridge (Columbia County, New York)
The bridge: Built in 1905 to span a rail line along the Hudson River, this double-intersection Warren pony truss features three truss webs and a double-barreled roadway.
The significance: Although several double-barreled through trusses remain in use across the country, this is one of the only -- if not the only -- extant pony truss with this configuration.
The situation: The weight limit was recently reduced to 3 tons, putting it on the verge of being closed entirely. Ferry Street provides one of only two entrances to the waterfront (the other is an at-grade rail crossing), so this is an important bridge. Ownership of the bridge is in the process of being transferred from CSX to Amtrak, but local officials want the city to take over the bridge and replace it, calling the project a top priority.
The plan: The city has had trouble obtaining funding to replace the bridge, so they may not have any choice but to repair, instead of demolish, the bridge.
White River MO 76 Bridge (Taney County, Missouri)
The bridge: This is a five-span Camelback Pratt through truss built in the early 1950s in conjunction with the construction of Bull Shoals Lake.
The significance: For reasons that are unclear, the Camelback truss design -- seemingly obsolete at the time -- was chosen for this and three other bridges built around Bull Shoals Lake. Very few other Camelback trusses were built in the country after World War II.
The situation: The bridge is slated for replacement in 2017.
The plan: According to a news story from February, the idea was floated at a public meeting to preserve the bridge for use as a pedestrian walkway. This could potentially be more cost effective than building a walkway on the new bridge.
Kingpost Bridge (Otsego County, New York)
The bridge: This is an abandoned three-span timber Kingpost pony truss overpass of the Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad, operated by the Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society.
The significance: It's a Kingpost. It features timber trusses. It has three spans. What more is there to like? This is an exceedingly rare -- if not unique -- bridge.
The situation: The bridge is abandoned with portions of the deck missing.
The plan: This spectacular structure needs some attention before it deteriorates beyond the point of no repair.
To celebrate, you'll notice a few improvements to the website:
1. The masthead photos are now 100% covered bridges.
2. Only covered bridge related updates now appear on the front page.
3. By popular demand, covered bridges will be automatically highlighted on the county listing pages to distinguish them from boring old iron bridges. The ability to hide covered bridges -- a feature only used by one regular user -- has been deprecated in order to simplify the user interface and improve efficiency.
I've updated the inspection reports for the bridges on this website where possible. The "Add Bridge from NBI" tool has been updated with the 2013 data, and I've also added other years from the past to make it easier to find lost bridges.
In addition, I've posted a new version of the OVERPASS software program for processing the raw NBI data. This new version updates the fields for the 2013 edition and attempts to handle some of the broken latitude/longitude coordinates for certain bridges (although some of them are hopeless). You can download it here (note: it requires the Perl programming language).
Nominations will be accepted through Jan. 31, with the awards announced sometime in February.
To nominate a bridge, go to the page for that bridge and click the "Nominate" button near the top. Or, for bridges that aren't listed, follow this link.
First, login to the website and go to the Settings page. Make a note of the email address given under "Personalized email address for submissions." When you send messages to that address, the system will automatically process them and link them to your account so that you get proper credit.
Use the email's subject line to specify where you want the attached photos to appear. See the Help page for full details.
The main advantage is being able to upload photos or post comments from your smartphone in the field. If, for example, you discover a "bonus" bridge, you can quickly post a forum comment with a snapshot, even while you're standing on it (assuming you can get a signal).
Note that this is an experimental feature, so let me know how it works (or doesn't work).
And therein lies her problem. The SS Badger has been on the endangered species list since 2008, when the Environmental Protection Agency leveled the ship into its crosshairs. Coal-fired vessels disposed of coal ash by mixing it with water and pouring it overboard. The Badger is no different, and has been disposing of coal ash into the lake since it was built in 1953. The EPA claims the coal ash is a pollutant and ordered the dumping stopped in 2008. The operators were given until 2012 to stop dumping or cease operations. The legal battle has continued ever since.
On October 10, 2013, U.S. District Judge Janet Neff approved a revised deal between the EPA and Lake Michigan Carferry, parent company of the S.S. Badger.
The agreement allows the Badger to continue operations while modifications are made to the ship. The deal calls for a reduction in the amount of ash discharged during the 2014 sailing season and by the start of the 2015 season, the Badger will have to store coal ash on board for later disposal on shore.
With this ruling, it appears the Queen of the Great Lakes Car Ferries (and the last of her breed still sailing) will continue to be an operational historical landmark.
Congratulations to everybody who has contributed!
This year's Historic Bridge Weekend will focus on Iowa, where various types of historic bridges dating as far back as the 1870s can still be seen today, each having its own history in terms of bridge builder and in terms of its association with the communities that cherish them.
The 5th annual event will take place August 9th through the 12th and will focus on eastern Iowa and the Des Moines area. A formal dedication dinner honoring James Hippen will take place August 9th at the Stone City General Store near Anamosa, with dinner and presentations taking place August 10th at Baxa's Restaurant and Tavern next to Sutliff Bridge and August 11th at Horn's Ferry Bridge at 2:30pm as well as at Bos Landen Golf Course near the Horn's Ferry Bridge in Pella at 5:30pm.
The trip to the Kate Shelley Viaduct on the morning of August 12 will round off the four-day event.
More information on the HB Weekend, as well as contact details can be found via link here: http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2013/04/02/5th-annual-...
Please RSPV Jason Smith before July 15th if you are interested in participating in the HB Weekend and attending the dinner and presentations, so that the venues know how many will attend and you can plan accordingly. Hope to see you at this year's HB Weekend in Iowa.
Congratulations to the nominators and all of the people involved in the campaigns to save these bridges!
With any major programming overhaul, however, it's almost certain that ugly bugs will appear. If you see any errors -- especially the dreaded "Something went wrong" message -- then please let me know.
One last reminder: The deadline for submitting TRUSS Award nominations is this Friday, Jan. 18.
While you are pondering which bridges to submit, you may also want to consider going out on a limb and nominating a threatened bridge to the America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places program run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The deadline for 2013 nominations is March 1st. It would be ideal to see at least one bridge listed every year. Many states and some cities also have historic preservation organizations that run similar programs, so be sure to check them out as well.
This is a good time to pause and reflect. What features or improvements would you like to see on this site? You can use this story to post your thoughts.
Reminder: I'm collecting nominations for the TRUSS Awards until Jan. 18, but please don't procrastinate. Right now 26 nominations have been submitted, but that's much less than in previous years.
One final plug: The hosting bills for this website have been steadily increasing thanks to the recent growth in traffic and uploaded photos. It's a good problem to have, I suppose, but it's still a problem. You can help by making a donation toward hosting costs.
If you have some free time during the holidays, or you're looking for an excuse to take a break from your relatives, then I have the perfect mission for you: nominating a worthy bridge for the 2013 TRUSS Awards. This award is intended for historic bridges that are threatened with demolition or neglect, but are worthy of saving.
To nominate a bridge, navigation to that bridge's page and then click the yellow "Nominate" button. If a bridge isn't listed, then follow this link.
The deadline for nominations is January 18, 2013.
Right now, the tool shows these items:
This tool should help settle arguments over the ownership of railroad lines, as well as whether a bridge is located in a certain town or township. It should also help cut down on duplicate listings, since it will show other nearby bridges that are already listed.
Right now this is a highly experimental feature. I plan to expand it to cover other things (rivers, lakes, highways, streets, public land). If this is successful, and it doesn't overload the webserver, then I hope to make this tool more widely available.
But Clay County, Illinois, has something equally special. Sadly, it has gone unnoticed.
When US 50 was constructed in the early 1920s, the concrete highway included three through truss bridges and one long concrete girder bridge. Three of the four bridges were built with unusual brick parapets.
The highway was bypassed decades ago by a new alignment, but everything from the vintage highway remains intact: the bridges, the concrete pavement, and the brickwork. Of course, the lack of maintenance has caused the structures to deteriorate, especially the intricate brickwork.
While the bridges are barricaded, the connecting stretches of concrete highway are still open to traffic (for landowner access), but see virtually no use, except perhaps from ATV riders. The pavement is rough, but this 2.5 mile stretch of vintage highway has potential as a pedestrian/bicycle trail. With some repairs, brush clearing, and signage, this could be a wonderful park that would cost relatively little.
Unfortunately, the replacement bridges on US 50 are also deteriorating, and IDOT intends to replace them in the coming years. This means that the historic bridges, which sit side-by-side to the replacement bridges, are likely in jeopardy because of their proximity to the construction area.
Local and state officials probably consider these orphaned bridges to be a liability, but with the right marketing, they could be transformed into an asset instead. The concrete girder bridge has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but I feel the entire collection of bridges and pavement should be evaluated as a potential historic district.
This could become a recognized historic site and a recreation area, all with a budget that would be far lower than what other counties and towns are spending to build brand-new walking and bicycle trails.
The bridges, from west to east:
The winner will be announced on 23 December.
The Bridgehunter's Chronicles has also started a new page with the best bridge preservation examples, providing people with some live examples of historic bridges that were preserved to use as a reference for their bridge that is a target of preservation versus progress. If you have a success story that you would like to share on the Chronicles, please contact Jason D. Smith at the Chronicles at: firstname.lastname@example.org or JDSmith77@gmx.net.
Other historic bridge campaigns and mystery bridges are still being gathered for posting as well. If you have one that needs attention of the general public, out with it! You'll be amazed at the support you will receive on a larger more global scale. Thank you.
For information, contact host Tony Dillon at email@example.com.
The Bridgehunter's Chronicles would like to help you bring these historic bridges to the attention of the readers, with the goal of providing support and addressing the issues involved with these precious vintage structures.
If you are part of an organization that is working to save a historic bridge or know a historic bridge that is threatened with demolition but would like to save it, please provide a short summary of the structure (history, status, etc.) as well as plans for preserving the structure and a couple photos and send them to Jason D. Smith using the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The information will then be posted on the Bridgehunter's Chronicles, where you will receive some feedback and support for your historic bridge with hopes that you will garner enough support and interest to save the structure. These articles will be posted starting in September.
In addition to that, the Bridgehunter's Chronicles is also looking for any mystery bridges that deserve to be posted. If you have a bridge, whose information is missing and would like to know more about its origins, please send the author a photo with some information (including what questions you want solved on this structure) to the above-mentioned address. The mystery bridges will be posted in the Chronicles beginning in September and listed under the heading "Mystery Bridges." Please be aware that these mystery bridges you present must be those that were built in 1945 and earlier.
The Bridgehunter's Chronicles is a column that brings the past of historic bridges to light, and provides support for preserving historic bridges for future generations to come. After all, historic bridges are relics that deserve our attention.
Despite the total destruction of a 322-ft span, the rest of the bridge, including the piers, remained intact. That's when KYTC decided to try to reopen the bridge with a temporary span. Hall Contracting, the same company that performed emergency repairs on the Sherman Minton Bridge at Louisville, was hired to fabricate and install a temporary span at Eggner's Ferry -- with a very strict deadline of Memorial Day. They delivered two-and-a-half days ahead of the deadline.
Thanks to the early completion, KYTC decided to open the bridge to pedestrians during the morning of May 25 before allowing vehicular traffic. This was a repeat of the wildly successful "Bridge Day" at Owensboro, Kentucky, where a massive crowd came to see the newly refurbished Blue Bridge across the Ohio River. The Bridge Day at Eggner's Ferry, coming on a weekday with only several hours notice, wasn't able to attract the same overflowing crowd. But that didn't matter: a sizable crowd did arrive, and everybody who walked, bicycled, scooted, or golf-carted across the bridge had reason to be absolutely jubilant.
The new truss span, a simple Warren design, isn't nearly as intricate as the historic Parker and Pratt trusses, and it tends to stick out like a sore thumb. But it's better than 322 feet of thin air. Or a UCEB.
Now that the Eggner's Ferry Bridge has reached a happy ending (at least until it's replaced in a few years), we should consider some important lessons from this episode:
1. When disaster strikes, don't just scrap everything and start over
Immediately after the cargo ship struck the bridge, it seemed that the most likely outcome would be for the old bridge to be scrapped while construction would be expedited on a replacement bridge. That's the typical response in modern American society, after all: scrap first and ask questions later. If this option had been chosen, however, people around Kentucky Lake would expect to be making lengthy detours for two, three, or four more summer tourist seasons. Thankfully, circumstances made it feasible to repair instead of scrap; based on past experience, however, it's safe to say that not every highway department would have even entertained the idea of trying to repair the damaged bridge.
2. Trusses are still a viable technology
In the aftermath of the I-35W Bridge collapse, truss bridges took a bum rap, with "experts" appearing out of the woodwork to claim that truss designs are inherently unsafe because they are "fracture critical." We've seen campaigns in many states and counties to eliminate all truss bridges from public roads, conveniently ignoring that other bridge designs have their own Achilles' heels.
Nevertheless, it was a truss design that was chosen for the replacement span at Eggner's Ferry. The span was assembled off-site and then floated up Kentucky Lake by barge to the bridge site, where two cranes hoisted the superstructure into place. It was an economical design that could be rapidly put together and installed. The more things change, the more they stay the same: these are the same benefits that bridge companies have touted for truss designs for the last century-and-a-half.
3. Truss spans can be moved
In a recent forum comment, a letter from an Ohio legislative aide was posted arguing that relocating truss bridges was an "unheard practice in today's technological age." What a load of expletive. Even with all of these technological advances at their disposal, the contractor for rebuilding Eggner's Ferry Bridge still relied on the tried-and-true practice of moving a prefabricated truss into place. Meanwhile, just downstream at Kentucky Dam, a new railroad truss bridge was built in 2009 using the same method: floating the truss by boat and then lifting it into place. And let's not forget about the amazing development in Illinois last year where a UCEB was replaced by a historic through truss relocated from another location.
Trusses were meant to be moved, either for initial construction or for later reuse elsewhere. This was a selling point historically, and is still true today... except perhaps in Ohio.
4. Bridge events bring crowds
It was fun to see all of the camera-toting people studying every square inch of the bridge while it was open to pedestrians. Letting visitors get a sneak preview of the bridge repairs was a nice touch, something that other highway departments should embrace. With last year's Bridge Day at Owensboro and now the Bridge Party at Eggners Ferry, it seems Kentucky has stumbled across an offbeat, but successful, kind of tourist attraction.
5. Throw enough money at a engineering problem, and anything is possible.
Well, I think we all knew this. It's just too bad there aren't a whole lot of opportunities for politicians to throw money at repairing historic bridges.
Next week, the Missouri Department of Transportation will cut the ribbon on a new 23 foot culvert in Audrain County, to be dubbed the Kit Bond Commemorative Culvert. That will soon be followed by a new UCEB built in St. Louis County, to be officially called the Christopher S. Bond Viaduct Sponsored by Anheuser-Busch.
The plan has drawn fire, however, especially from Missouri Democrats. "First they want to name everything after Ronald Reagan, and now this. Sheesh," wrote a left-leaning blogger from St. Louis.
Lirpa Sloof, a popular Missouri radio host, said on the air yesterday, "Has anybody seen the new bridge at Hermann? It's butt ugly! Instead of being an honor for Kit Bond, the name of the bridge is the ultimate insult toward him. What a joke."
Since then, the wreckage was cleared away, the ship was repaired and sent underway, and now the state has let an ambitious $7 million contract to replace the missing span by Memorial Day.
Naturally, local residents are thrilled about the repair contract. This is much better than the alternative, a ferry crossing, which probably wouldn't be in operation before Memorial Day anyway -- and would be a bottleneck on a good day.
Details about the replacement span are sketchy, but it appears that it will be some kind of truss span (a Bailey-like design perhaps?). The local newspaper reports:
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet outlined the structure that will replace the bridge span in its bid request. The section will be a railing system at least as strong as the existing bridge, with comporting dimensions. The deck will be 20 feet wide, made of asphalt or concrete. The trusses will be painted to match the color of the adjacent spans.
This will certainly be an interesting sight, at least until the entire structure is replaced by a new four-lane bridge in a few years.
In other related news:
Some of last year's winners were re-nominated again this year. These are all important projects, but I decided to exclude them from winning again in order to make room for other bridges. Meanwhile, most of last year's honorable mentions are now facing an even greater threat of demolition, so I did consider them.
I had originally planned to pick 12 winners, but after changing and re-arranging the list several times, I decided to expand this to 15. And even that's not really enough.
Here are the bridges that didn't make the cut. These honorable mentions are still worthwhile bridges that should be saved:
I visited Eggner's Ferry Bridge today, approaching from the western side at Kenlake State Resort Park. The park offers ample parking and several overlooks of the lake and bridge.
It's quite a spectacle:
The ship went under the wrong span (the second truss from the east). This span is not as high as the main channel span (second from the west). In the collision between the ship and the bridge, the ship easily won, crumpling the 322-feet Parker truss like a wad of paper.
With the ship anchored in place, the wreckage of the truss is now draped on the vessel's bow.
Bridge inspectors have tentatively declared that the western spans are stable, with commercial boat traffic allowed to resume passing under the main channel span. However, the eastern span (a smaller Pratt truss) has been labeled as "possibly unstable", with evidence suggesting that the pier has shifted -- or perhaps continues to shift. It also appears, at least through a telephoto lens, that cracks have formed in the concrete.
Pre-construction work is already underway on the bridge's replacement (a "basket-handle arch" design), but construction wasn't expected to finish until 2016 or 2017. I'm sure that schedule will be accelerated, but a major construction project can only proceed so quickly.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet hasn't ruled out trying to repair the existing structure, but it's going to be tough. First, the 322 ft. gap will need to be filled by a temporary span (perhaps some kind of Bailey truss). That's a lot of distance to cross. It's also likely that at least one pier and the smaller truss span on the east side will need to be replaced or shored up. If feasible, I'd say that repairing the bridge is worth the effort, but I suspect a certain number of local drivers will be terrified to cross the repaired bridge and would rather take a lengthy detour.
Unfortunately, some of the media coverage seems to be clinging to the usual narrative that this "aging" bridge suffered a "collapse." This wasn't a collapse at all: it was a collision caused by an errant ship. The bridge was built in 1932, but it was not considered structurally deficient according to an inspection in Aug. 2010. A large ship veering off course by almost 1,000 feet would be enough to tear apart even a brand new bridge. Indeed, a simple truss bridge, where each span is largely independent of the others, is one of the better designs to handle this kind of collision. Sadly, this incident will likely provide yet another excuse to replace historic bridges with mundane replacements that are shiny and new -- but never 100% accident-proof.
In other news, the Federal Highway Administration has released the 2011 edition of the National Bridge Inventory. They've made two versions available: the old fixed-width ASCII format and a new comma-delimited format. The old format can be processed using my OVERPASS program. I haven't tackled trying to read the new format. Unfortunately, it appears that the wrong ZIP file containing all of the states was uploaded (it's the new format even though it's labeled as the old format). I had to download all of the states separately.
I've uploaded the new inspection data throughout the website. The next challenge is tracking down those bridges that appeared in the 2010 edition, but disappeared in the 2011 edition -- this means they were probably demolished.
I have good news and bad news about last year's TRUSS Award winners. From what I can tell, none of the bridges were demolished. But none of them were saved, either, and all remain in limbo. Here's the list with the current status of each:
Sadly, a large number of other bridges were lost in 2011. Our list of bridges demolished last year totals 145, and that list is certainly far from complete.
The year brought a shocking number of natural disasters to the United States. Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee were bad news for covered bridges as flooding unleashed by these storms destroyed Blenheim Bridge (New York), Bartonsville Covered Bridge (Vermont), Seigrist's Mill Covered Bridge (Pennsylvania), and many others.
Spring flooding caused extensive problems on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, at one point forcing the Army Corps of Engineers to intentionally breach a levee in Missouri, causing one bridge to be wiped out in dramatic fashion. Flooding also caused the partial collapse of the Ninth Street Seven Arch Stone Bridge in Illinois; the bridge was later demolished.
Fryer Ford Bridge in Arkansas succumbed to a different kind of disaster: a careless truck driver disobeying the posted weight limit.
As we've been dreading for some time, 2011 was the final year for several notable bridges, including:
Last year also brought surprise demolitions that were unnecessary:
On the bright side, 2011 brought some success stories, even in Pennsylvania and Missouri.
Here's to hoping that we will see more success stories in 2012.
Photo license tracking
To help prevent copyright violations and to keep the lawyers at bay, I've added a field to the database to keep track of the copyright license (if any) attached to each photo.
For photos that you've taken, you can decide what license to offer them under. This could be a standard "All rights reserved" position in which you grant permission for visitors to see your photos, but that's about it. You can also choose "Public domain" (renouncing your copyright and allowing anybody to use the photo in any way) or one of the "Creative Commons" licenses (which give various levels of permission for re-using the photo). If in doubt, just use the default "All rights reserved."
For photos that you've obtained from elsewhere, you must specify how they were obtained. If you have permission from the photographer/copyright holder, select "Have permission." If you found the photo on Flickr, Wikipedia, or another website with a Creative Commons license, then choose the applicable C.C. license version -- but be sure to follow their rules carefully, especially about providing attribution. For photos that are out of copyright or were produced by a Federal agency or program (such as HABS/HAER), then you can select "public domain." In some limited cases, you may be able to use a photo under "fair use", but first make sure you understand what that means before using this exception.
This isn't as bad as it sounds. When uploading or importing photos, you can choose the license for each photo from a drop-down menu. To make things easier, you can select the license (and credit line) for the first photo, and apply that to all of the other photos by clicking the little red arrows on the right. For photos that you've taken, it's safe to keep "All rights reserved" and not worry about this.
Expanded design types
I've always been puzzled why the various kinds of Pratt trusses (Parker, Camelback, Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Whipple, etc.) have their own distinctive names, but Warren trusses are just called Warren trusses regardless of variation. To better keep track of Warren truss bridges, especially the more exotic designs, I've expanded the list of available design types:
(I've added similar subtypes for pony and deck trusses as appropriate.)
As a result of the tragedy, the NBIS was initiated, mandating that all bridges in the United States, longer than 20 feet, be inspected every two years.
Adding to the mystique of the region is "The Mothman Prophesies." Legend has it that the mysterious Mothman foretold the collapse. The Mothman Prophecies is a 1975 book by John Keel that was the basis of a 2002 movie of the same name.
For more about the collapse, see the listing for the Silver Bridge.
New tool for adding categories
I've added a new admin feature for adding/removing categories associated with a bridge. Look for the yellow "Categories" button on each bridge page, or click the appropriate button to jump to it after adding or editing a bridge.
You can add categories either by dragging-and-dropping (or double-clicking) suggested categories in red, or by typing in a category name in the box. The system provides auto-completion, so you don't have to guess the proper spelling and capitalization for the category name. If you try to add a category that hasn't been created yet, the system will give you a warning so that you don't inadvertantly create a duplicate category.
To remove a category, drag-and-drop (or double-click) one of the green boxes. Changes take effect immediately (you don't have to save changes), although you have the option of adding a note to the Update Log using the box at the bottom of the page.
Review county boundaries
When adding or editing a bridge, there's now an option to "Show county lines" on the Google map. The bridge's selected county will be highlighted in red, while adjacent counties will appear in blue. This gives you the chance to double-check whether the bridge is placed in the right county, or to see whether the bridge crosses a county or state line.
If a photo is uploaded sideways, it's now possible to correct the problem by clicking the yellow "Edit this photo" link next to the photo and then using the "Rotate left" and "Rotate right" buttons.
The author would like to thank the photo candidates and those who voted for the best photos. The bridge candidates should take pride in the job well done in preserving bridges. As for the steel thieves......
The Award is named after the Swiss-American engineer who designed and led the construction of over a dozen bridges in New York City as well as many others in eastern US and his home country of Switzerland. Among those included are the George Washington Bridge (1939) and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge (1964), both located in New York City. The latter was the last of his engineering work (as he died eight months after it was open to traffic) and was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1981 and still is the longest in the USA today.
Pics for 2011: Also a first this year is the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles’ Pics of the Year. It will be divided up into the following examples- Best example of historic bridge reuse, worst example of historic bridge reuse, the best effort to saving the bridge, the salvageable mentioned, the worst reason to destroy a bridge, the best find of a historic bridge and the biggest bonehead story. You have until the 25th of November at 12:00am Central Standard Time to submit your candidate(s) to Jason Smith (JDSmith77@gmx.net), who will announce the winner and the honorably mentioned on 2 December.
The Bridgehunter's Chronicles will provide some stories about historic bridge preservation during the months of November and December, which will be posted here. Stay tuned.
Some items on the drawing board include:
Anything else? What upgrades do you feel are the most important?
Sadly, this wasn't a freak incident. This week, scrap metal thieves have reportedly struck bridges in Mississippi, removing the support pilings from multiple bridges in Chickasaw County. This is a more ominous development, as any of these damaged bridges could collapse under the weight of the next unsuspecting driver that comes along.
Hopefully this outbreak of bridge thefts will stop once the idiots with the cutting torches realize that scrap steel prices aren't that lucrative.
And yet people do like and admire bridges. Take Owensboro, Kentucky, where an estimated 10,000 people enjoyed the opportunity to walk or bike across the "Blue Bridge" over the Ohio River on Friday. Repair work on the bridge, which had closed it to all traffic during the summer, was a few days ahead of schedule, allowing the Kentucky highway department the opportunity to throw open the bridge to pedestrians and bicyclists for a one-day only "Bridge Day."
Despite the impromptu nature of the event -- it was only announced on the Monday before -- massive crowds descended on the bridge. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk across the bridge without dodging cars, making it possible to study this huge cantilever bridge built in 1940.
Actually, it may not be a one-time event after all. The turnout was so overwhelming that the mayor of Owensboro is already discussing turning "Bridge Day" into an annual festival. "I think we've really stumbled onto something here," the mayor said in a newspaper article.
And why not? Owensboro should be able to celebrate the city's success at saving its bridge. So many other cantilever bridges have been demolished to make room for replacement cable-stayed or steel beam bridges. Owensboro does have a modern cable-stayed bridge, but it was built at a location far enough upstream that the Blue Bridge could be retained for local traffic heading to downtown. That was a smart move: the city gets a modern bypass, while the historic bridge can still provide useful service.
I doubt that the turnout would have been so awesome for a UCEB. I hope that other cities and states are paying attention to the pattern established at Owensboro: build a bypass if you must, but keep the historic bridge around to serve as a true "signature" span for the community, one that everybody can enjoy. If you preserve it, they will come.