Constructed in 1878,(1)(2) the 140-foot, 12-panel Howe Truss is the last covered span in the county. The Howe truss is a design patented by Massachusetts millwright William Howe in 1840.(4) The bridge was rehabilitated in 1971 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1974.(1)
- Type: Howe Truss Covered Bridge
- Total length: 140 feet
- Deck Width: 16.5 feet
- Vertical Clearance: 15 feet
Damage & Restoration
In 2008, the Clermont County Engineer’s office applied to the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program and received a $360,000 federal grant, which required a $90,000 local match.(4) The office then hired John Smolen, a covered bridge consultant, who presented five preservation options. After two public meetings, the Engineer’s office settled on a $1.1 million plan that would involve constructing a new bridge inside the historic span while preserving most of the old bridge. The new crossing would consist of arches constructed of glued laminated timber and would increase the bridge’s weight to 12 tons, enabling emergency vehicles and school buses to cross.
The modifications would not jeopardize the National Register of Historic Places designation.(4) Some groups opposed the plans, including the Ohio Historic Bridge Association, which stated that modifying the trusses is changing the most important historic item of the bridge. The Clermont County Historical Society, who had assisted in having the bridge nominated to the National Register, also opposed. The groups stated that replacing worn out components and damaged pieces would cost $800,000, according to quotes received from J.A. Barker Engineering, a Bloomington, Indiana-based firm that specialized in covered bridge restoration. The load capacity would be increased by installing unobtrusive steel rods in the trusses.
On May 22, 2010, an overweight truck crossed the covered bridge and caused extensive damage to the structure.(2) The weight limit was three tons. The county engineer’s office, upon hearing reports from area residents that the floor beams were damaged, immediately closed the span. Sean Jackson was charged with operating a motor vehicle in excess of the restricted weight limit on June 18 in connection with the Stonelick Covered Bridge incident.(3) Jackson had drove a 11.625 ton Forest Green Recycling Truck across the span. The county was awarded $18,000 in a settlement with Forest Green Recycling.(5)
Rehabilitation work could start in the spring of 2012 and be complete by winter.(5)
- “Historic covered bridge in Clermont County closed.” Cincinnati Enquirer 11 June 2010. 6 Mar. 2012 Article.
- “Damage to covered bridge in Clermont County brings charge.” Cincinnati Enquirer 18 June 2010. 6 Mar. 2012 Article.
- Johnston, John. ”Rift develops over future of Stonelick covered bridge.” Cincinnati Enquirer 16 Feb. 2012. 6 Mar. 2012 Article.
- Schlagheck, Matt. ”Stonelick Twp. residents demand answers about covered bridge project.” Cincinnati Enquirer 13 Feb. 2012. 6 Mar. 2012 Article.