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Pulp Mill Covered Bridge 45-01-04#2

Photos 

Pulp Mill Bridge

Photo taken by John Borthwick securevermont.com

BH Photo #188670

Map 

Street View 

Description 

An unusual bridge due to its spotty history, this structure is nonetheless significant as one of only a few double barreled covered bridges remaining in the country. Heavily modified over its life, its actually questionable what design elements are original for this structure. Even its build date, most commonly given as 1853, is contentious as dates such as 1808, 1820 (NBI uses this), 1850, and 1860 have been given.

As originally designed this was a single span structure with a burr arch truss. The original arch was true to the Burr design as it passed through the lower chord and is braced against the abutment. On the outward trusses the original Burr arch is extant, but there is no trace of it on the internal truss. The original arch was supplanted at some point with a laminated wooden arch consisting of several layers of planking. On the outward trusses the new arch follows the path of the original Burr arch, however on the center truss the arch extends above the upper chord. The trussing work is also unusual, and its hard to discern what was original. At first glance it would appear to be a multiple Kingspost truss (which would be logical as that was the system used in conjunction with the Burr arch), however in several (but not all) panels counter braces have been installed. Whether this was a deviation made during the design or a later modification is unknown.

The substructure has also not been spared from modification, as two river piers have been added, reducing this to a three span bridge. The piers are concrete based with wooden cribbing extending up to the lower chord, thus providing a non-historical appearance.

At least because of these modifications though, the bridge does not employ steel stringers to carry the road weight, a fate that many covered bridges have suffered. Whether that is worth the high price paid in this bridges historical integrity though is up for debate.

Facts 

Overview
Modified Burr arch-truss covered bridge over Otter Creek
Location
Middlebury, Addison County, Vermont
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1853; Rehabilitated 1980; Rehabilitated 2012
Builder
- Alpine Construction (2012 rehabilitation)
Design
Double-barreled Burr arch truss. Additional arches added
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 65.9 ft.
Total length: 199.0 ft.
Deck width: 8.9 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Paper Mill Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.02457, -73.17750   (decimal degrees)
44°01'28" N, 73°10'39" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/646057/4876215 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Middlebury
Inventory numbers
NRHP 74000200 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
WGCB 45-01-04 #2 (World Guide to Covered Bridges number)
BH 47126 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 11/2012)
Deck condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Appraisal: Not deficient
Sufficiency rating: 30.5 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2010)
1,900

Update Log 

  • August 26, 2016: New photos from John Loxton
  • June 8, 2015: Updated by Michael Quiet: Moved news article from description to comments. Added history
  • March 20, 2015: Updated by Michael Quiet: Added category "Double-barreled"
  • February 27, 2014: New Street View added by Dave King
  • June 14, 2013: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Fixed typo, added photo and major restoration
  • March 17, 2011: Updated by John Borthwick securevermont.com: corrected date built
  • November 27, 2010: Added by John Borthwick securevermont.com

Sources 

  • John Borthwick
  • Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Michael Quiet - mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com
  • John Loxton

Comments 

Pulp Mill Covered Bridge 45-01-04#2
Posted June 8, 2015, by Michael Quiet (MQuiet [at] Gmail [dot] com)

http://www.gmoutlook.com/news/2012/nov/12/covered-bridge-acr...

Middlebury — The historic 19th-century Pulp Mill Covered Bridge reopened to traffic Nov. 9 [2012] after being closed in January for renovations. Local officials and representatives of Alpine Construction, the New York-based contractor, were on hand to open the wooden bridge at noon.

The bridge crosses Otter Creek linking Middlebury and Weybridge via Seymour Street.

Alpine Construction began working on the bridge in early January [2012]. Alpine got the repair job with a bid of $1.7 million although the final cost of the bridge remains to be published.

The new, old bridge looks superficially like the original but much of it consists of new materials.

Exterior wood, roof, interior work, security lighting and asphalt approaches, upgrade the bridge to the 21st century.

Both lanes are now open to traffic with no warning signs, as in the recent past, permitting only one vehicle on the bridge at a time.

Taxpayers paid for the recent bridge work—most of the money was a grant from the U.S. Government secured through a former Vermont senator.

The exact date of the bridge appears to be a bone of contention among some experts and local observers—1808, 1820, 1850, and 1860 have been suggested for various dates of either the original span or its various improvements and addition of arches.

Regardless of an exact birthdate, the renovated bridge is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is considered, at least by some historians, to be the oldest covered bridge in Vermont, and certainly among the oldest in the U.S.

Jan Lewandosky, a Vermont bridge expert, has said that the year of construction of the (current) span was around 1850.