Honorable Mentions for 2012

I've spent the last week sorting through nominations for the TRUSS Awards (Top Ranked Unique Savable Structures). It's been tough: there's so many bridges that are endangered, and so many bridges that would be viable candidates for rehabilitation or adaptive reuse.

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:

Ellsworth Ranch Bridge (Emmet County, Iowa)

This peculiar pin-connected Pratt/Warren through truss is abandoned and would make an excellent adaptive reuse project.

White Sand Creek Bridge (Lawrence County, Mississippi)

A small Warren pony truss, this bridge stands along a well-preserved stretch of the River Road, a pioneer-era thoroughfare that is listed on the National Register.

Arkadelphia Bridge (Clark County, Arkansas)

Slated for replacement, this Parker truss was offered for adaptive reuse without any takers. However, this bridge has already been relocated once (in 1960), so there's no reason why this couldn't be done again.

Rock Lick Creek Bridge (Breckinridge County, Kentucky)

This bowstring, probably built by the King Iron Bridge Co., is closed to traffic, but remains in decent condition. It's located near another bowstring, the Greens Farm Mill Bridge, that has been preserved for pedestrian use.

Bruns' Bridge (Franklin County, Missouri)

Built in 1888 by the King Bridge Co., this 194-ft high Pratt truss is quite a sight. It's a popular hangout, but the deck will soon deteriorate to the point where it is no longer be safe to walk on the bridge.

Fort Ritner Bridge (Lawrence and Washington counties, Indiana)

It's pin-connected, it was built in 1895, it has two large spans, and it has ornate portal bracing. And yet that still isn't enough to prevent this bridge from being labeled "Non-Select" and placed at risk for replacement.

West Division Street Bridge (Will County, Illinois)

At first glance, this seems like an obvious choice for a hiking trail: a well-preserved truss bridge sitting next to a nature preserve. However, the land is controlled by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and they probably aren't too interested in historic preservation or public recreation.

Champ Clark Bridge (Pike County, Missouri)

Located in the scenic town of Louisiana, Missouri, this massive multiple-span Pennsylvania truss is photogenic from any angle. Now that Missouri has demolished most of the classic truss bridges over the Missouri River, MoDOT has now set its sights on replacing this Mississippi River bridge.

Mahned Bridge (Perry County, Mississippi)

Featuring a 220-ft Camelback truss, this is an impressive wagon bridge near Hattiesburg that is abandoned with the deck removed. This National Register listed bridge has been closed for several years and does not appear to be in danger of replacement, but it does have a notorious reputation.

Little Osage River Bridge (Bourbon County, Kansas)

Built in 1896 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Co., this Pratt truss is unusually tall. It's still open to traffic, but the superstructure is rated as "poor", suggesting that it could be closed in the near future.

Mill Creek Bridge (Bourbon County, Kansas)

Located in Fort Scott, this abandoned Pratt truss appears to date from before 1900. It's in relatively good condition -- except for the trees that are encroaching on the truss.

Chambers Ford Bridge (Tama County, Iowa)

It appears that arsonists have struck this closed bridge, setting fire to portions of the wooden deck. That shouldn't be an excuse to give up and demolish this 1890 bridge.

San Gabriel River Bridge (Williamson County, Texas)

This Camelback and Pratt truss bridge is abandoned and bypassed, putting it at risk for continued deterioration.

Salt Fork Red River Bridge (Collingsworth County, Texas)

Collingsworth County has a pair of multiple-span Parker trusses over Salt Fork. One of these, on US 83, is on the verge of being demolished. This bridge, on State Highway 203, could easily be next on the bulldozer list.

Kennebec River Bridge (Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties, Maine)

This multiple-span through truss with a swing draw span is slated to be replaced.

Salisbury Bridge (Meeker County, Minnesota)

It's the usual story: somebody driving an SUV crashes into a truss bridge, causing serious damage. In this case, however, the county government is working to secure a grant to rehabilitate -- and not replace -- the bridge.


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