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Town Line Bridge

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Town Line Bridge

View from the riverbed

Photo taken by Michael Quiet in August 2015

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BH Photo #334766

Map 

Overview of significance and history of the Town Line Bridge 

Written by Michael Quiet

Located on a closed section of a small dirt road in rural New York is a historic lenticular through truss bridge built by the prolific Berlin Iron Bridge Co. While already notable and historically significant as one of a small group of remaining lenticular through truss bridges, this is also an important bridge due to its very short length of 83 feet, which probably represented the lower limit for the length of a through truss configuration as lenticular pony trusses had been able to approach this length.

Fabricated in 1888, this employs the standard features of a lenticular truss such as wrought iron construction, pin connections, and a single remaining cast iron finial. The guardrails are of simple steel wire, and the bridge rests on stone abutments. The western abutment has been faced in concrete, whereas the eastern side remains in its original condition. The wooden deck, last rehabilitated in 1976 remains in fair enough condition to be crossed with no worries. The bridge was closed to traffic circa 1990, but is still used as a pedestrian bridge for snowmobile traffic and for anglers as this is a popular fishing spot.

The bridge itself is in poor shape, and will require corrective work to be done so that it can continue to serve local residents in its limited capacity. A large concern is that the western abutment is beginning to crumble, which in turn is causing a large amount of stress on the truss. The northwestern end post has seen the largest affect from this, and is supported by two large steel I beams in a attempt to stabilize it. Shifting of the bridge has caused bowing of the lower chord and strut bracing in the southwest corner, which if it continues could be catastrophic for the truss.

On the eastern side of the bridge is a 1903 riveted warren pony truss fabricated by the equally prolific Groton Bridge Co. (An interesting mix for sure of the regions two most important bridge builders in the last quarter of the 19th century!). This bridge was built to cross a spillway from an adjacent sawmill and features a very light construction method. The spillway has long since been abandoned and reclaimed by nature, to the point that the bridge now meets the ground and thus doesn’t cross anything.

Facts 

Overview
Pin-connected Lenticular through truss bridge over Otselic River on Townline Road
Location
Taylor, Cortland County, New York
Status
Open to pedestrians only
History
Built 1888 by Berlin Iron Bridge Co.; Pony truss added to east side by Groton Bridge Co 1903; closed 1990's
Builders
- Berlin Iron Bridge Co. of East Berlin, Connecticut
- Groton Bridge Co. of Groton, New York
Design
Pin connected Lenticular through truss with a riveted warren pony truss approach span
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 82.0 ft.
Total length: 125.0 ft.
Deck width: 11.5 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 29, 2008
Also called
Taylor Lenticular Truss Bridge
Otselic River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.56500, -75.88333   (decimal degrees)
42°33'54" N, 75°52'60" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/427494/4712888 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Cincinnatus
Inventory numbers
NRHP 08000470 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
NY 2207170 (New York State bridge identification number)
BH 50940 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 05/1991)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 18.7 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 1986)
56

Update Log 

  • August 10, 2015: Essay added by Michael Quiet
  • August 8, 2014: Updated by Chester Gehman: Removed "Built 1920"; Changed common name to Town Line Bridge
  • January 14, 2012: Updated by J.P.: Added categories "One-lane traffic", "Wrought iron", "Pin-connected"

Sources 

  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • picture of the bridge - picture is about halfway down
  • Chester Gehman - gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Michael Quiet - mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com