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Ohio covered bridges PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, November 14, 2010 10:55 AM

Ohio can boast of having the longest covered bridge in the USA.  The Smolen – Gulf covered bridge was dedicated 26 August 2008 in Ashtabula County, way in the northeast corner of the state. The bridge was the brain child of county engineers; John Smolen and Timothy Martin.

The existing iron bridge on State Road (Co. Rd. #25) in Plymouth and Ashtabula townships showed severe deterioration. From 200l-2005, plans for the bridge were developed after the county received federal funds of $5 million. Construction began in the summer of 2006. The cover protects the structure, giving the bridge a life expectancy of over 100 years.

The bridge used 613,000 board feet of lumber, enough to cover an entire football field with 13 inches of wood. The piers and abutments are comprised of 7,000,000 pounds of concrete and nearly one-half million pounds of steel were used for reinforcement.

The bridge of Pratt Truss construction is 613 feet long, with a clear width of 30 feet and a clear height of 14 feet, 6 inches. It stands 93 feet above the Ashtabula River. The bridge will support full legal loads, including tractor – trailer traffic.

Ashtabula County receives record snowfalls every year and the new Smolen – Gulf covered bridge is unaffected by de-icing chemicals.
Ashtabula County boasts of 16 covered bridges and celebrates with the Covered Bridge Festival each October. Most are old and authentic but several were built in the 1990’s or later.

The oldest existing covered bridges in the county are the Windsor Miller covered bridge and the Mechanicsville, both built in 1867.  Four others were built in 1868. They are the Doyle Road covered bridge, the 234-foot Harpersfield covered bridge, the 136-foot Middle Road covered bridge and the 97-foot Root Road covered bridge.

Some of the older bridges, like the 154-foot Mechanicsville, the 120-foot Warner Hollow, the 115-foot Olin covered bridge and the 136-foot Middle Road covered bridge have undergone restoration because the county recognizes their significance in history and their contribution to today’s tourism. Their durability is another important factor. The old Eagleville covered bridge has been converted into a restaurant at two locations: one in North Kingsville and the other half in Andover.

Fairfield County, south of Columbus also has 16 covered bridges. These old gems add beauty and character to the countryside. Some have been moved to college campuses.  The 68 foot Shaeffer is on the Ohio University Belmont Campus. Another bridge now rests on the Lancaster Campus of Ohio University.

Vinton County in southern Ohio has five covered bridges. One is the 165-foot Humpback covered bridge, which was built in 1874 and later restored.

The smallest authentic covered bridge in the US is the 22-foot Churchill covered bridge in Columbiana County. It is located off Route 154 east of Route 11 about 1.3 miles. It was built in 1875.

Our northern Williams County has one covered, the Lockport, built in 1999.

Union County is planning to build six new covered bridges. Union County is just on the other side of Logan County.

The Roberts Bridge in Eaton still stands today as the oldest and the only two lane covered bridge in the state.

You still have time for a week-end covered bridge trip and many of these bridges are even more scenic after a little snowfall.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:20 PM
 

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