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Wadsworth Street Bridge

   


Wadsworth Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: June 17, 2012
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Wadsworth Street (Brooklyn Heights Road) Over St. George River
Location
Thomaston: Knox County, Maine
Structure Type
Metal 4 Panel Rivet-Connected Pratt Pony Truss, Movable: Single Leaf Bascule (Belidor) and Approach Spans: Metal 7 Panel Rivet-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1925 By Builder/Contractor: Boston Bridge Works of Boston, Massachusetts

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
231 Feet (70.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
20 Feet (6.1 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 2 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
2904

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This Bridge's Future Is At Risk!

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This historic bridge is being replaced and will be demolished!

View Original Plans For This Historic Bridge

This bridge is one of the only examples in the country of a Belidor type of bascule bridge. This unusual type of bascule has a curved tower on which counterweights can roll, while pulling a cable attached to the bascule leaf, which raises the bridge. The bascule type was also built in Australia, where it is known as the "American" type of bascule. One one operable example is known to remain in the United States, the Glimmer Glass Bridge. The historical photo of a long-lost Belidor bascule in New York City is shown to the right in partially raised position, illustrating how the bascule operates. The Wadsworth Street Bridge no longer operates and indeed all of the machinery including counterweights and cables have been removed. All that remains is the the superstructure with its fixed traditional Pratt through truss span, the small single leaf pony truss bascule span, and the unusually shaped counterweight tower/track, which also doubles as a through truss approach span. The trunnions remain in place on the bascule span as well. Despite this massive loss of operating equipment, given the rarity of this bridge type, with only the aforementioned Glimmer Glass Bridge remaining in operable condition, the Wadsworth Street Bridge must still be assigned a high level of historic significance. Also, it should be noted that the Glimmer Glass Bridge, although operable, suffers from a substantial loss of original bridge material. Much has been replaced. In contrast, while the mechanics are lost on the Wadsworth Street Bridge, the structure that remains is largely in its original condition and design, and thus unaltered.

Information and Findings From Maine's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 1925-28 bridge was designed and built as a rolling counterweight bascule bridge. The operating mechanism, operators shanty, and counterweights and guys have been lost, but the rolling counterweight design is so rare that the integrity issues are considered secondary to the significance of the bridge type. The towers, trunnions, and counterweight track remain making it clear what type of bridge this was. Rolling counterweight bridges date to the late 18th century in France. The Wadsworth Street bridge is historically and technologically significant as representing the rare and distinctive rolling counterweight bridge type. There were once several rolling counterweight bascule bridges in the state, but all of the others have been completely lost.

The bridge is judged to have high preservation priority as the only example of the bridge type in the state. It is acknowledged that the bridge has been significantly altered.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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Photos and Videos: Wadsworth Street Bridge

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Structure Details
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A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
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Structure Overview
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A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
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View Photo Gallery
Structure Details
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
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