8 votes

Aden Road Bridge


Photo taken by Bob Kirkpatrick


BH Photo #112849

Street View 


Virginia Department of Transporation Bridge No. 6051 is a five-panel Pratt through truss bridge 73'-11 1/2" in length. Manufactured by the Keystone Bridge Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1882, the structure is a representative surviving example of a popular truss type built to specifications by railroad companies and bridge companies during the 1875-1925 period in Virginia. Relatively inexpensive and easy to manufacture, ship, and erect on site, Pratt metal truss bridges found widespread application on U.S. railroads and highways throughout the last quarter of the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century.


The one-lane wrought-iron truss bridge will be removed from its perch over the Norfolk-Southern railway on Tuesday.

Remediation work to remove lead paint will be performed on the bridge, and then it will be trucked to Florida for a complete restoration. The bridge is 133 years old.

ďItís a community cornerstone,Ē said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Ellen Kamilakis.

Once the bridge is restored, it will be brought back to Nokesville and put back into service over the railroad tracks. A new concrete bridge will be built next to the old Aden Road bridge.

-- Historic American Engineering Record

From https://www.insidenova.com/news/transportation/prince_willia...

Built in 1882 for the Keystone Bridge Company, the truss bridge was purchased in the early 1900s and moved to Aden Road by Norfolk Southern, which transferred ownership to VDOT in 2014. The old truss structure showed substantial structural deficiencies, so a revised design was developed with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the community to allow the truss bridge to be rehabilitated as well as remain on the National Register of Historic Places.

The bridge was removed from the railroad crossing in January 2016. The new one-lane bridge opened to traffic in December 2016; it was closed temporarily in July 2018 to facilitate the truss bridge reinstallation and rehabilitation. The truss bridge was put back in place over the railroad in November 2018.

Some final detail work on the $8 million project will occur into the spring without major traffic impacts. The project is financed with federal, state and Prince William County funding. Norfolk Southern donated a construction easement to allow the work to be completed.


Through truss bridge over Southern Railroad on Aden Road in Nokesville
Prince William County, Virginia
Open to traffic.
Built 1882; relocated by railroad early 1900s; removed 2016 for renovation with new bridge added; reopened March 2019
- Keystone Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)
- Southern Railway (SOU)
Pin-connected, 5-panel Pratt through truss
Span length: 78.1 ft.
Total length: 78.1 ft.
Deck width: 12.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 21.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 15, 1978
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.70716, -77.56426   (decimal degrees)
38°42'26" N, 77°33'51" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/277027/4287402 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
Inventory numbers
VA 14340 (Virginia bridge number)
NRHP 78003040 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 33805 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of March 2015)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Critical (2 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 3.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • March 19, 2019: Photo imported by Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • March 18, 2019: Updated by Nathan Holth: Bridge is again open to traffic.
  • January 14, 2016: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Bridge to re removed for renovation and restoration, then returned to abutments
  • February 7, 2015: Photos imported by Dave King
  • January 5, 2015: HAER photos posted by Dave King
  • February 26, 2014: Updated by Dave King: Added NRHP info
  • June 20, 2013: Updated by John Marvig: Bridge to be rehabilitated
  • January 2, 2012: Updated by Nathan Holth: This bridge is now doomed.
  • April 19, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth
  • March 15, 2008: New photos from Bob Kirkpatrick
  • March 6, 2008: New photo from Bob Kirkpatrick



Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 18, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


You assume correctly, Featherbed will be placed on steel stringers. Again, we have a "best possible" outcome, as the Consulting Parties added this alternative, which places the truss on steel stringers at existing width with one pier. Original proposals were adding "thru girder" beams (which would have blocked view of trusses), and another which would have widened the truss (destroying the Variety Ironworks design of overhead bracing).

Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 18, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Sounds like Virginia! I assume that the beautiful Featherbed Lane-Variety Iron Works Bridge will receive the same haphazard treatment.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 18, 2019, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)

Nathan, can you scan and send me a copy in PDF Format? I cannot access anything from Europe because of privacy guidelines. I'm really interested in seeing what the bridge looks like. Thanks for your help! :-)


Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 18, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The outcome with this bridge, while indeed frustrating, is the best possible outcome, which prevented the total destruction of this bridge. I was a Section 106 Consulting Party on this bridge, as well as another truss (Featherbed Lane) in this same VADOT district. The engineer that handles this district of Virginia said that to keep a "two eyebar" truss bridge open to traffic in a load-bearing capacity, whether for vehicular traffic or pedestrian traffic is, and I quote "Russian Roulette." The engineer was severely critical of the preservation of such bridges in other states like Michigan, and Indiana.

On top of all that, contractors were allowed to dismantle this bridge in a way that severe damage was done to rivet holes (incorrect use of cutting torch).

Now that said, the Waterloo Bridge in Virginia is to be rehabbed, but (despite excellent condition) it will have a bunch of original materials replaced including all eyebars.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 18, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

"Rehabilitation" can unfortunately offer way too many loopholes, shortcuts and compromises when compared to "Restoration".

Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 18, 2019, by John Marvig

Thatís a shame. Better than nothing I guess.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 18, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Looks as though the trusses are non-functional at this point.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 18, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)
Aden Road Bridge
Posted July 30, 2018, by Zachary S

Alright so, after being restored and repaired in Florida, the bridge is apparently going to be reinstalled near its original location, so far presumed to be for vehicle traffic once more. I don't know how much historical integrity had to be compromised for its repair since it was claimed there was major damage that had to be repaired, but it has been repaired and is scheduled to be reinstalled sometime next year probably. A far better fate than many old rail-crossing road bridges.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted July 28, 2017, by Zachary S

Well, never mind the rehab and reopening... as of late last year VDOT claimed that the restoration work needed was far more extensive than thought, so it appears by photos that they thew up a new concrete eyesore in its place. The historic bridge is supposed to have been preserved elsewhere but I can't find an article that confirms if this actually happened.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted July 11, 2016, by Zachary S

Passed underneath on an Amtrak journey just now. Doesn't appear to have been put back in place yet, but so glad to hear of its positive fate.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 24, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


I was mostly joking. They are significantly reworking the crossing and approaches while preserving the historic bridge. The problem is when using this as a reference, the cost may scare others away. I think a better number to use is the incremental cost increase of preserving the bridge.


Art S.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 23, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Art: A few clarifications. First, this is a rehabilitation, not a restoration. Second, the project includes construction of a NEW one-lane bridge (including superstructure and abutments) next to the historic bridge. Third, this will require substantial work to the approaching roadway to accommodate the one-way couplet configuration. Fourth, this project includes the replacement of the existing abutments for the truss with a revolutionary hammerhead abutment design that increases the available space for railroad tracks under the bridge, while not requiring the truss itself to be lengthened. Fifth, this is a DOT bid project, and so like any DOT project you can expect higher per-foot costs, plus costs for DOT oddities... one VDOT project I evaluated included an on-site office trailer to be provided... cost of site trailer: $70,000.

So as you can see, taking all of this into account, you can see how you get up to this project cost, and why the project is a lot more expensive than say, just as a random example, the cost for a historic bridge restoration specialist to restore a 137 foot truss bridge in a non-DOT setting.

I maintain that this is one of the best examples of Section 106 I have ever been involved with, and the solution for this bridge is one of the most creative I have encountered. If all projects involving historic trusses were approached with the open mind and creativity of this project, we would have a lot more success stories in this country.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 19, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] kknite [dot] com)

$5.77M to restore a 5 panel pin connected truss! I predict that they will be gold plating it to prevent corrosion.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted March 17, 2015, by Anonymous

We visited this bridge last year. Glad they are being creative.


Aden Road Bridge
Posted February 5, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Aden Road Bridge
Posted April 3, 2014, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Yes, this bridge is not at risk. I was a consulting party for Section 106 Review. Its the first time EVER where I have been 100% happy with the way a Section 106 Review was conducted. They entered the process with an open mind and came up with a creative solution that avoided adverse effect. The bridge will sit on new, unique hammerhead abutments that will increase space between abutments for the railroad below while avoiding the need to lengthen the truss!

Aden Road Bridge
Posted April 3, 2014, by Matt Lohry

I was very pleasantly surprised ( especially since it's VDOT) to read in this same article that the truss bridge will be strengthened (not replaced) as part of a project to turn it into a one way couplet, with a new bridge being built alongside of it to handle traffic in the opposite direction.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted April 2, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Aden Road Bridge
Posted January 3, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

It is common (and often required by federal law) to offer a historic bridge slated for demolition to a third party. This however is not a preservation committment, and if nobody steps forward to take the bridge (which is the most common scenario) than the bridge would face demolition. I have however learned that Section 106 has not yet been conducted for this bridge, so VDOT is premature in describing this as a replacement project, before they have considered alternatives to avoid adverse effect.

Aden Road Bridge
Posted January 2, 2012, by Chris P.

It looks like they are considering relocating the historic bridge if a party comes forward to take it.