Abandoned US 123 Bridge
Photo taken by C Hanchey in March 2009
BH Photo #135914
Well it does pay to ask a lot of questions. Turns out the locals are correct. The middle span was indeed disassembled and relocated north to the Chauga River and re-purposed as the Cobb Bridge. The reason the dates of construction don't match up, is because all 3 spans of the old U.S. 123 Bridge were built in 1940 across the Tugaloo River. I heard back from one of the NC state bridge inspectors who told me that even though the middle span was taken apart in 1962 and reassembled elsewhere, the construction date of the span itself remains 1940. I have fixed the Cobb Bridge and U.S. 123 Bridge notations to reflect this.
I was told the same thing when I arrived a couple of months ago to extensively photograph the two spans over the Tugaloo, and also the Cobb over the Chauga. I had heard from fishermen that day that the middle span was indeed taken apart and reassembled as the Cobb Bridge. I also noticed the same configurations as you did Matthew, on the portal bracing and the internal sway's, and I closely examined the steel and measurements from both bridges. While there are some similarities, the problem for me is, the dates don't match up.. the nearby U.S. 123 bridge that replaced this one opened in 1962 and these 3 trusses were in operation up to that point. But the Cobb Bridge's information shows that it was built in 1940. Cobb might have been strengthened later with steel from the middle bridge from here (which I kind of doubt), but it could not have been the same exact bridge Camelback.
Looks like a perfect match to me...the A-frame portal bracing and internal sway bracing are identical, the bridge is 8 panels, and Google Earth shows a gap of approximately 153 feet between existing spans, which is exactly the length of this one. Even the railings were retained and used on the Cobb bridge.
The pics of the Cobb Bridge don't include a good side view, but it does appear to have the same number of panels and overall similar appearance.
Locals here say that the center span was removed and was relocated to the Cobb Bridge/Chauga River location in Oconee County, SC off of US 76.
Poke here and see if you concur...http://bridgehunter.com/sc/oconee/3790063400100/ I have travelled over this span many times in my work, but have not yet had the occasion to stop and look for any signs that can prove/disprove this rumor.
What happened to the center span?
If the remaining spans have had guard fences installed and are open to pedestrians, then the bridge is certainly not abandoned, just repurposed.