Some 2010 success stories
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Nevertheless, 2010 didn't bring all bad news, as some historic bridges were rehabilitated and (gasp!) given new paint jobs. Even everybody's favorite highway department, PennDOT, notched a couple of successful historic bridge projects -- and we're not talking about covered bridges!
Here is a rundown of successful projects completed in 2010. (Sorry if I missed any obvious examples.)
Hays Street Bridge (Bexar County, Texas)
Photo taken by Markus Haas in July 2010
This Texas-sized project converted a two-span through truss (featuring a Whipple truss with Phoenix columns) into a pedestrian/bicycling trail. Originally built in the 1880s, the spans carried railroad traffic before they were moved to San Antonio. If you're keeping score, that makes this a rail-to-road-to-trail conversion.
Hermi's Bridge (Fulton and Cobb counties, Georgia)
Photo taken by Frank Mills in January 2009, prior to rehabilitation
In the 1970s, this two-span Pratt truss survived demolition based on the urging of Cecil and Hermione "Hermi" Alexander to keep it open for pedestrians. However, by 2006 the bridge had been condemned and faced demolition again. Thanks to funding from a variety of sources, the bridge was completely overhauled in 2010.
Calhoun Street Bridge (Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Mercer County, New Jersey)
Photo taken by Ian Anderson in Sept. 2010
This spectacular seven-span truss bridge between Morrisville, PA, and Trenton, NJ, is built with wrought-iron Phoenix columns. The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission invested $11.4M to rehabilitate the bridge over a five-month span, allowing this 1884 masterpiece to continue carrying light traffic.
Hares Hill Road Bridge (Chester County, Pennsylvania)
Built in 1869, this unusual structure is the only remaining example of Thomas Moseley's "Wrought-Iron Lattice Girder" design. In a rare move for PennDOT, the bridge was restored to continue carrying traffic.
Sheep Bridge (York County, Pennsylvania)
Photo taken by Jodi Christman in December 2010
We've seen the same argument numerous times from highway agencies: "We don't want to spend money repairing an obsolete bridge that can't support modern traffic." And yet, that's exactly what PennDOT did with this Whipple truss. They overhauled the bridge, giving it a new deck and blue-ish paint job, allowing the weight limit to be raised to 15 tons instead of 3 tons. Way to go, PennDOT! It's not always necessary to build a replacement bridge capable of carrying the Space Shuttle.
Airtight Bridge (Coles County, Illinois)
Photo taken by Robert Stephenson in March 2010, during rehabilitation
Coles County has a nice collection of steel and concrete bridges. Hopefully this will be true long after other counties have inevitably turned their historic bridges into UCEBs. This 1914 Pratt through truss was rehabilitated in 2010 with a new deck.
War Eagle Bridge (Benton County, Arkansas)
This 1907 Parker truss, along with adjacent mill, is a bona fide tourist attraction. Thanks to a major restoration project, tourists will be able to continue driving and walking across for many more years.
Alley Ford Bridge (Franklin County, Indiana)
Photo taken by Bill Eichelberger
Indiana has a solid track record for historic bridge preservation, saving bridges that most other states would be replacing with UCEBs. This 1927 Pratt truss was nicely restored to continue carrying traffic after it failed inspection in 2007. While some have commented on the dubious paint jobs, it's still a beautiful restoration.
McCloud Nature Park Bridge (Hendricks County, Indiana)
Photo taken by Anthony Dillon in June 2010
A fine example of adaptive reuse, this road bridge from Pulaski County was disassembled and transported to Hendricks County where it has been installed as a pedestrian crossing at a park. It features an unusual bolted Warren through truss design.
Big Bull Creek Bridge (Miami County, Kansas)
Photo taken by Ruth Reynolds in July 2010
This 1936 open-spandrel arch bridge has been fully restored. Unfortunately, the railings have been replaced by bog-ugly Jersey barries, making the bridge appear as a UCEB to passing motorists. But the arches remain underneath.
North Main Street Bridge (Strafford County, New Hampshire)
Photo taken by David P. Timmins
Did I just see a flying pig? No, but this is definitely a rare sight indeed: an historic bridge preserved using federal stimulus funds (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).
Bridge of Lions (St. Johns County, Florida)
Photo taken July 2006 by James Baughn during disassembly of the bascule spans
After years of work, this bascule bridge at St. Augustine, Florida, finally reopened to traffic on March 16, 2010. It's somewhat of a mixed blessing, as this was a reconstruction rather than a rehabilitation, with much of the original bridge replaced by new materials. Nevertheless, the decorative towers remain, the bascule spans function the same as before, and the lions will soon be back.
As a side note, during the work, traffic had been diverted to a "temporary" vertical lift bridge built with Bailey-like trusses, a monumental landmark in its own right. When I visited in 2006, I was amused to find a "Save The Temporary Bridge!" sticker on the lift bridge.
Oak Knoll Park Bridge (Stark County, Ohio)
This bridge, an 1859 iron Howe truss, was already considered historically significant in 1899 when it was preserved as a footbridge in a Massillon city park. It was designed by Joseph Davenport, who would go on to found the Massillon Bridge Company. In December, Davenport's descendants were on hand to cut the ribbon on the bridge's rehabilitation and reopening.