Send your nominations for 2012

With the arrival of the new year, is now accepting nominations for the 2012 TRUSS Awards (Top Ranked Unique Savable Structures). This award honors bridges that are threatened with demolition, but would make the most excellent preservation projects. To nominate a bridge, go to the page for that bridge and click the yellow "Nominate" button near the top. You can also nominate an unlisted bridge by going to this page. Nominations will be accepted for three weeks through Jan. 22, 2012.

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.

  • Mill Mountain Road Bridge (Luzerne County, Pennsylvania) - The Times Leader newspaper explains it best: "Some Luzerne County employees saved taxpayers more than a million dollars by redoing a historic bridge on their own, rather than hiring outside companies to design and build a new one."
  • Pine Creek Bridge (Lycoming County, Pennsylvania) - This spectacular Warren Lenticular truss was dismantled in 2008, repaired, and finally reassembled in 2011
  • Lake Taneycomo Bridge (Taney County, Missouri) - Located at downtown Branson, Missouri, this arch bridge was twinned by a parallel span and then rehabilitated to carry one-way traffic
  • Rock Island Bridge (Pulaski County, Arkansas) - After a long wait, this former railroad bridge opened to pedestrians this year as part of the Clinton Presidential Library grounds
  • Chambers Covered Railroad Bridge (Lane County, Oregon) - At one time in immediate danger of collapse, this covered bridge was rebuilt at a new location for pedestrians
  • Glover Cary Bridge (Daviess County, Kentucky) - Owensboro celebrated the rehabilitation and reopening of its Ohio River bridge with a special day allowing people to walk across the bridge
  • West Bureau Creek Bridge (Bureau County, Illinois) - In the most surprising story of the year, Illinois replaced a UCEB with a historic through truss bridge relocated from elsewhere

Here's to hoping that we will see more success stories in 2012.


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