On a recent trip to Columbus, Ohio, I decided to make a side trip to photograph two endangered Delaware County bridges.
Brown Road Bridge, which is located on Scioto Township Road 176 over Bokes Creek west of Delaware, was constructed in 1915 by the Bellefontaine Bridge and Steel Company. It replaced an earlier span that was washed out in the 1913 flood. The riveted Pratt through truss was determined to be eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
In early 2010, the county engineering office studied options on whether to rehabilitate or replace the Brown Road Bridge. The crossing was found to be in poor structural condition, and the decision ultimately was made to replace the truss. The new bridge is estimated to cost $2.3 million. The federal local bridge program funded up to 95% of the estimated $1.5 million in construction and engineering costs, with the remainder coming from Delaware County road and bridge funds.
Right-of-way and utility work is currently ongoing for the replacement bridge.
A little closer to development and equally as endangered, the Orange Road Bridge is a through truss bridge over the Olentangy River on West Orange Road in Powell immediately east of OH 315, the Olentangy Heritage Corridor. Constructed in 1898 by the Toledo Bridge Company, the 9-panel, pin-connected Pratt through truss is historically significant for its design. It is one of two remaining Pratt through trusses built by the Toledo Bridge Company.
The truss replaced the “Thomas Bridge,” a wooden crossing that had been washed out in a flood.
The substructure was built by McDonald & Cook and is sandstone. The deck was originally wooden, built of 3-inch burr and white oak timbers, although it was later given an asphalt overlay.
In 1970, the Orange Road Bridge was rehabilitated. During the project, the Ohio Bridge Company of Cambridge, Ohio raised the bridge, removed the old bridge seats, and added new ones that were concrete reinforced with steel. Four hip verticals, the first vertical members beyond the portal, were reinforced with the addition of 32-foot, 1.25-inch diameter vertical rods between each pair of 2-inch x 5/8-inch vertical square bars. In the 1980s, the east abutment was faced with concrete.
At its spring 2001 meeting, the Ohio Historic Bridge Association passed a resolution recommending the preservation of the Orange Road Bridge. The bridge was included in the National Register of Historic Places on June 26, 2002.
In 2005, due to structural deficiencies, a three-ton weight limit was imposed. A new bridge for Orange Road was completed in 2009. Due to the local, state and national significance of the bridge, the original Orange Road Bridge was not demolished.