Portal View to the west
My kids Sam, Mitchell, and Lucy are running across the bridge
Photo taken by Matt Lohry
BH Photo #308142
Modern MOB bridges are a scam. Cheap Walmart bridges. These companies claim the weathering steel will last forever yet some of these are replaced after 25 years, others require blasting and painting to halt deterioration. I have also heard that these companies will suggest a low price, but that they like to "nickel and dime" the customer.
This is generally true. The marketing has similarities as well. The problem is history (both American and engineering) is being lost because the bureaucracy isn't set up to maintain, only replace. The replaced bridge is generic, it really doesn't matter what truss type is used, that's merely decoration, in this case a 'pretty, white bowstring'.
This historic bridge was adequate for the purpose. However, having it maintained or restored required much more back-office work than simply marking the 'replace' box. Hopefully, the movement to preserve (metal) truss bridges will accelerate as covered bridges (wooden truss bridges) may outnumber historic metal trusses soon.
Oddly/fortunately, there are pockets of preservation such as Hunterdon County, NJ and large swaths of Indiana where people 'get it.' These areas actually feature the bridges in tourism materials and understand that if the infrastructure can be put in place to maintain these bridges, the cost/benefit can work.
Many of the bridges that we love were also mail order bridges, although they were assembled on site. Look at how similar many of them from a given company are.
I wonder if, 140 years ago, people lamented covered bridges being replaced by mail order iron bridges.
A "mail order bridge" is a mass-produced, single-piece bridge built to a cookie-cutter pattern, welded together, and lifted into place with a crane. They are normally prefab trusses or arches and have no distinguishing features to set them apart from one another. This is one of two identical footbridges in this area; the other is about 1000 feet to the north over the same river. That bridge did not replace any previous bridge. I live around here, so I see these on a regular basis.
What about the replacement makes it a MOB?
I'll agree that the original bridge didn't look anywhere near like a bridge that would have warranted replacing and that doing so really wasn't necessary, but...I'm confused by what makes the new one a "mail order bridge", so to speak, when there's only the side view to go on.
There was NOTHING WRONG with this bridge!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, park/golf course use doesn't mean these bridges are safe.
An example that I have personal ties to/find more egregiously short-sighted/wasteful: https://bridgehunter.com/ia/story/veekner-golf-course/
Label me a damn fool for thinking this bridge might be around for the long term, as it was in a park-type setting and was in excellent condition—I drove by today and saw an ugly Walmart-inspired MOB where this bridge once stood!