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Blaine Hill S Bridge

Bicentennial Bridge

   


Blaine Hill S Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: June 2010
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Pasko Drive (Old National Road Alignment) Over Wheeling Creek
Location
Blaine: Belmont County, Ohio
Structure Type
Stone Segmental Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1826 By Builder/Contractor: James Lloyd and Robert Wilson of Hagerstown, Maryland

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
2004
Main Span Length
44 Feet (13.4 Meters)
Structure Length
345 Feet (105.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
27 Feet (8.2 Meters)
Spans
3 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
0732141

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

This three span stone arch bridge is among the oldest bridges in Ohio with an 1826 construction date. The arch ring of the western span which had severely deteriorated was rebuilt of concrete, and the overall bridge preserved in a noteworthy effort by a local group, the Blaine Bridge Community Preservation Project who was able to save this bridge in the face of demolition plans. As such, this bridge remains standing as the oldest of three generations of roadways following the route of the National Road. The second generation bridge, the high level Blaine Hill Viaduct is also historic and it looms in the background behind this arch bridge forming a unique and beautiful historic scene where two companion historic bridges stand side by side. I-70 is the third generation roadway following the National Road route.

John J. Crnkovich, Ed.D., P.E provided the following additional information which among other things shows that the 1828 construction date is incorrect: I spent two years recording the restoration of the Blaine "S" Bridge.(2003- 2005) My research found that the contract to build the bridge was let in 1825. The contract for the bridge was given to James Lloyd and Robert Wilson of Hagerstown, MD. They were also required to build one mile of road at each end of the bridge, so there could be no argument about the road and bridge meeting properly. In spite of the posted historical marker the bridge was finished in 1826. The bridge was rebuilt during 1915 when the original builder's marker was replaced by a concrete marker which stated the building date was 1826 and that it was rebuilt in 1915. Visited the site September 18, 2010, on the fifth anniversary of the Grand reopening. The bridge is in excellent condition.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory

Setting/Context

The bridge carries a pedestrian walkway over the stream in a setting of 20th-century residents at the foot of Blaine Hill. The open-spandrel arch bridge carrying US 40 is adjacent.

Physical Description

The 3 span, stone arch bridge has stone parapets, brick roadway surface, string course, coursed ashlar spandrel walls, and arch rings. The piers have rounded ends that extend upward into shaped, tapered pilasters. Built in 1826, it partially collapsed in 1998.

Integrity

Following the partial collapse in 1998, the bridge was rehabilitated to the Secretary of Interior's Standards (no adverse effect).

Summary of Significance

The Blaine "S" Bridge is one of the signature bridges on the old National Road and was selected as Ohio's Bicentennial Bridge. It has been rehabilitated without adversely effecting the significance/integrity. The eligible recommendation of the prior assessment remains appropriate.

Stone arch highway bridges and culverts are not uncommon in Ohio with approximately 190 examples dating from ca. 1825 to 1940 (Phase 1A Survey, 2008). Significant examples date to the 2nd quarter of the 19th century (fewer than 26 pre-1851) and are often associated with historically important transportation routes such as the National Road and the state early canals or railroads. Later examples may have significance on the merits of the aesthetic quality/craftsmanship of the masonry work or in association with parks, such as the stone arch bridges in Cleveland Rockefeller Park (ca. 1897-1904) or Youngstown Mill Creek Park (ca. 1913). Stone arch culverts have roadways on earth fill atop the arch, which may or may not have headwalls, but they are the same traditional technology as arch bridges that have spandrel walls and parapets.

The immigrants who settled America came from European countries where masonry arch bridge construction was well established. Our most distinctive collection of stone arch bridges are found on the early, eastern trunkline railroads such as the B&O and Erie railroads. Early turnpikes such as the National Road had impressive stone arch bridges in Maryland. Along the road in Ohio, the famous S-bridges were built. Canals such as the Erie and the Chesapeake & Ohio had stone arch aqueducts. The technology of stone arch construction is ancient. Increased use of metal truss bridges from the late 1800s into the early twentieth century, led to a decline in stone arch bridge construction. The strength and durability of stone arch bridges made them popular. Generally, stone arch bridges built during the nineteenth century are found today in areas where good stone was available. Stone arches were common in the first half of the nineteenth century, and a number of these structures still exist. Stone arch bridges from the late eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century are highly significant if they retain their character-defining features, which include the arch ring with keystone, barrel, spandrel wall, parapet, headwalls and abutments/wingwalls. Piers may also be a character-defining feature. Many of these stone arch structures possess both engineering and historical significance for their associations with the work programs of the Great 1930s. Stone arch bridges that do not fit within these areas (early, Depression-era, association with parks) generally possess less significance, but are still significant. [From: A Context for Common Historic Bridge Types by Parsons Brinckerhoff, October 2005]

Justification

The bridge ranks as oldest complete stone arch in the state, and it is a character-defining landmark on the National Road. It is the most historically and technologically example of its type in the state.

Information From Previous 2006 Concrete Arch Report

This bridge is Ohio' s official Bicentennial Bridge. It is a closed three-span, stone arch bridge built in 1828 and rebuilt in 1916. The bridge partially collapsed in 1998 and was saved from demolition in 1999. Since then the "S" Bridge has undergone major rehabilitation and been restored. The roadway over the bridge is paved in brick and has stone railings. A drainage system to collect runoff from the hill has been added to prevent water from running across the bridge. The bridge is on a 6.3% gradient and has excellent integrity. An Ohio historical marker has been placed at the east end of the bridge.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

View PDF Historic Bridge Inventory Sheet

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