2 votes

Blackford Bridge


Blackford Bridge

Photo taken by C Hanchey in April 2010


BH Photo #161493


Through truss bridge over Clinch River on former Chestnut Road (Route 652)
Russell County, Virginia
Bypassed and closed to traffic
Built 1889 by the Groton Bridge Co..; Moved 4.3 miles to current location in 1946; Bypassed and closed in 2009
- Groton Bridge Co. of Groton, New York
Two-span steel Pratt through truss consisting of a pin-connected superstructure of channels and latticing with die-forged and loop-welded eye bars, supported by reinforced concrete abutments and a central concrete pier
Length of largest span: 112.9 ft.
Total length: 225.1 ft.
Deck width: 11.2 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 12.5 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 24, 2010
Also called
Pucketts Hole Bridge
Clinch River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.96442, -82.01047   (decimal degrees)
36°57'52" N, 82°00'38" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/410048/4091401 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
NRHP 10000381 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
VA 16463 (Virginia bridge number)
BH 33842 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 7, 2010: Updated by C Hanchey: Bridge is known as Blackford Bridge and Pucketts Hole Bridge and was constructed by the Groton Bridge & Manufacturing Co.



Blackford Bridge
Posted April 8, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I worked with the people trying to save this bridge, lead by the Russell County Historic Society.

Initially, VDOT was going to demolish this bridge after the new bridge was opened to traffic. They claimed it was not National Register Eligible and they claimed it was a common bridge type. They also suggested that if for some reason it got flooded out, the historic bridge could crash into and damage the new bridge (unlikely as that might be).

Virginia actually has a low truss bridge population. Using NBI data I composed some statistics about how many truss bridges are in Virginia and also how it compared to other states. I shared this information on HistoricBridges.org and with VDOT.

VDOT responded positively to interaction from everyone's efforts. VDOT agreed to halt plans to demolish the bridge until November 2010, to give the county time to apply for a Transportation Enhancement Grant to preserve the bridge. VDOT actually did a stop work order to prevent the contractors from demolishing the bridge. The timing of all this was right down to the wire!

Not sure what the latest status of the grant is. So, the bridge is not yet "safe" however, until we confirm the grant has been awarded.

I have additional information, history, and photos for this bridge: http://www.historicbridges.org/virginia/blackford/

VDOT has a so-so commitment to preservation. I do not know of a lot of preservation work there, and they do give the appearance of being against historic bridges at the outset, but as this bridge shows, they are at least willing to work with preservationists if enough fuss is made. So they are not as bad as some states (we all know which ones those are).

Blackford Bridge
Posted April 8, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Interestingly, the bridge is barricaded with no trespassing signs. Could this be somehow indicative of its future? I am not familiar with Virginia's record on historic bridge preservation.