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Green Iron Bridge

Photos 

Photo taken by Brian McKee in May 2010

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BH Photo #171327

Map 

Street View 

Description 

The Berlin Iron Bridge Company is usually associated its patented lenticular truss, which accounted for the majority of their bridge construction. Although less common, they also made examples of other common truss types, of which only a handful survive today. This bridge, while historically significant just as a production of this prolific 19th century bridge fabricator, is even more unique as this example is a Quadruple Intersection Warren (sometimes referred to as a Lattice or Hilton) through truss. This example uses riveted connection points, thus making it a bit of an outlier among BIBco products as their bridges retained the use on pin connections up until 1900.

The bridge is visually quite appealing due to the complexity of the truss style, thus giving it a striking appearance. Standard details that are seen on several other surviving examples (portal decorations, ornate builders plaque, decorative railings) are all absent on this bridge however, perhaps owing to its truly utilitarian nature.

The truss type is both historically and technologically significant and deserves attention. The NRHP identifies this bridge as an example of the un-patented Hilton truss. The name originates from Charles Hilton, who served as chief engineer for the New York Central railroad and popularized the truss type. As railroad loads became heavier and faster, truss types increasingly needed to be strong to be able to meet the demands, and Hilton felt that the multiple points and riveted connections of the Lattice both gave increased strength and durability, but also increased redundancy in case of damage. The design would see use for a few decades, but it was criticized for excessive use of material and adaptability only for small and medium span lengths, which led it to give way by the beginning of the 20th century to the more efficient Baltimore and Pennsylvania truss types.

While popular in railroad applications, this truss type did not see as much in highway use due to the lighter/slower loads expected with wagon traffic in the late 19th century. This bridge is an exception as it was built to service a granite quarry and required a somewhat long (200ft) single span, which necessitated a very strong truss type such as this.

This Bridge was closed to traffic in 1995 due to deterioration, with the state opting for replacement. The community however rallied for repairing the bridge, and after many years of pushing the state finally agreed to rebuild the bridge, which only happened in 2010-2011. The reconstruction resulted in some loss of historical integrity (rivets replaced with bolts, new floorbeams, etc..) However the overall functioning of the truss has not been altered.

Facts 

Overview
Quadruple intersection Warren through truss bridge over West River on C3062 Iron Bridge Rd. in Dummerston
Location
Windham County, Vermont
Status
Open to one lane traffic
History
Built 1892 by Berlin Iron Bridge Co., Closed to traffic 1995; Rehabilitated and reopened 2011
Builders
- Berlin Iron Bridge Co. of East Berlin, Connecticut
- Renaud Bros. Inc. (2011 rehab)
Design
Quadruple-intersecting Warren (Lattice/Hilton) through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 198.2 ft.
Total length: 202.1 ft.
Deck width: 11.8 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 19.9 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on November 7, 1995
Also called
Rice Farm Road Bridge
West River Iron Bridge Rd.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.91634, -72.61310   (decimal degrees)
42°54'59" N, 72°36'47" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/694820/4754288 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Putney
Inventory numbers
NRHP 95001259 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 34063 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 09/2014)
Deck condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 39.6 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2008)
200

Update Log 

  • February 29, 2016: Updated by Michael Quiet: Changed to local name. Added builder
  • May 24, 2014: Updated by Chester Gehman: Added alternate name
  • February 20, 2014: New photos from Jack Schmidt
  • September 30, 2011: Updated by Brian McKee: Bridge has been restored and opened to traffic
  • July 31, 2010: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Changed truss type to Lattice
  • July 30, 2010: New photos from Brian McKee
  • March 17, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added Street View

Sources 

  • Nathan Holth
  • Brian McKee - bjmckee51 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Jack Schmidt - jjturtle [at] earthlink [dot] net
  • Chester Gehman - gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • NRHP Listing
  • Michael Quiet - mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com

Comments 

West River Iron Bridge Rd.
Posted May 3, 2012, by Nathan Holth

A news article mentions that "Ultimately, Renaud Brothers replaced about half of the steel in the bridge, along with about 13,000 wrought iron rivets."

This preservation project was clearly a rehabilitation, NOT a restoration.

West River Bridge
Posted July 30, 2010, by Cliff Darby (clif30 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

So glad to see some rennovation on a thru-truss! Even if its just rehab work, I love seeing a bridge being maintained and not destroyed!