It is not too often a historic bridge rehabilitated, but the George Street Bridge in Aurora, Indiana, one of the oldest in the state, was saved.
The 16-panel, pin-connected Whipple through truss was constructed in 1887 by Lomas Forge and Bridge Works of Cincinnati, Ohio. The George Street bridge carried trolley cars until the 1940’s, US 50 until 1954 and IN 56 until 1972. Two wings on both sides carried utility pipes; the west wing also carried a pedestrian walkway.
The distinct crossing was rehabilitated in 1950 when the wooden deck was replaced with a steel grid deck. Deterioration of the walkway supports required the removal of the pedestrian path in 1974 and in 1979, the entire bridge was closed to automobile traffic due to structural concerns. The George Street bridge was rehabilitated from 1983 to 1989 and reopened to automobile and pedestrian traffic. A detailed inspection of the bridge was conducted in late 2000 that raised some structural issues, leading to a reduction in the weight limit from 20 tons to 15 tons in March 2001. It was lowered again to just six tons later in the month due to newly discovered rivets that had popped – most likely from abuse from semi-trucks.
The George Street bridge was fully rehabilitated in 2010, which included the installation of a new floor system, substructure improvements, truss analysis, truss reinforcement, portal bracing reinforcement, new paint, the replacement of failed rivets with new hot-metal driven rivets. The rehabilitation allowed the bridge to carry a HS20-44 load, or 36 tons, but was signed at six tons to prevent unnecessary deterioration.
This historic bridge was saved. Read more about it → George Street Bridge