This bridge demonstrates how broken both our transportation policies and historic preservation policies truly are. This was a short two-panel bedstead truss bridge. How hard would it have been to relocate such a short (yet uncommon and significant) bridge into a park for display as a historic structure? It would have been incredibly easy. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this bridge and it could easily have been restored, and relocating such a small bridge would have been simple as well. Consider the below structural evaluation:
National Bridge Inventory Data Prior To Demolition
Deck condition: Good (7 out of 9)
Superstructure condition: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Average daily traffic (ADT) in 2008: 35
This bridge's replacement is so pointless it is unbelievable! The bridge carries less than two cars per hour, and not a single part of the bridge is even rated Poor or below. Even bridges that have parts labeled Poor or lower can and have been restored without much difficulty. A bridge with the above listings isn't even in beginning to be in bad shape! Even if you do not care about historic preservation, the demolition of this bridge was a waste of taxpayer dollars. The bridge's condition was amazingly high for a bridge of its age with no major rehab work ever done on it. It would have been far less expensive to rehabilitate this bridge and the added benefit of historic bridge preservation would be realized.
Unfortunately, HistoricBridges.org did not make it to this bridge before it was reduced to a pile of scrap metal. There is no known photographic record of this bridge anywhere. The few photos of the destroyed trusses piled up after the demolition are offered here, since they do offer a glimpse of what was here.
The bedstead truss is a rare form of truss bridge that was mostly built between 1890 and 1915, usually using pinned connections and a Pratt configuration. In Missouri however, they continued to be built after that date for a while, with riveted connections and a Warren truss configuration. The bedstead truss (also known as a truss leg bedstead) was a design in which the end post was vertical and this end post extended down below the bottom chord to act as a substructure (bridge-supporting structure). The design was an economical one, since it reduced abutment costs, since the legs of the bedstead did most of the job of the abutments. Bedstead truss bridges were marketed to local governments as a less expensive alternative to more traditional truss bridge forms. Bedstead truss bridge construction did not last long however, since it was found that the design had some functional problems. The truss legs made the bridge susceptible to flooding, since flood debris could collide with the truss legs and damage them, drastically reducing their support strength. Worse, the bridge might be picked up completely and pushed away into the river. Another problem was with the way the forces act on a bridge with vertical endposts, which is a reason why truss bridges of any kind with vertical end posts is rare. One feature that bedstead truss bridges sometimes have to try to counteract these problems is a compression member for the first panel of the bottom chord.
To label a truss bridge as a bedstead, the vertical endpost must extend below the bottom chord to be considered a bedstead. A vertical endpost along is insufficient for a bridge to be called a bedstead. In some cases, a bedstead truss's legs may be encased in a concrete abutment or pier. Close examination of such bridges in the field is often needed to confirm whether or not such bridges are bedsteads or simply truss bridges with vertical end posts.
The bedstead truss is one of the rarest type of truss bridges today. Many states today do not have a single example within their borders, and others might have less than a handful. Neighboring Arkansas has only one example listed. In contrast, Missouri has perhaps the largest number of bedstead truss bridges in the entire country. When the first Historic Bridge Inventory was completed, there were in fact over one hundred examples! The problem with this is that at that time the inventory found most of them non-historic because there were so many. However many years have passed since that initial inventory, and while Missouri may still have the largest number of bedsteads in the country, the current number is nowhere near where it was initially since many of these bridges have been demolished. It is unclear if the Historic Bridge Inventory has been updated to reflect the rarity of the bedstead truss bridge: on a relative scale within the state and on an absolute scale on a national level. If the surviving examples in Missouri are not determined Eligible For the National Register of Historic Places like they should be, this will increase the difficulty of preservation. The high level of integrity, rarity of the design on the national level, and increasing rarity on the state level make the preservation of each surviving bedstead something that should take a high level of priority. In addition, the small size of the bedstead truss makes it conducive to relocation and preservation in a park or on a non-motorized trail if it is considered insufficient for its current use. In addition, the smaller size makes a preservation project less costly and easier to tackle. Sadly however, the CR-214 Bridge demonstrates that these bridges are still being demolished in Missouri. This must end before it is too late.
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