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Fairview-Snodgrass Road Bridge

   


Fairview-Snodgrass Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 7, 2006 and June 6, 2014
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Non-Motorized Pathway Over Beedle Ditch
Location
Near Troy: Miami County, Ohio
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Smith Bridge Company of Toledo, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
2011
Main Span Length
67 Feet (20.4 Meters)
Structure Length
69 Feet (21 Meters)
Roadway Width
15.4 Feet (4.7 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
5531055

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

Observations in 2006

This is a six panel pin connected half-hip Pratt pony truss. This is a decent length for a half-hip bridge, and the bridge has an unusually large number of panels for this length. The trusses are not very deep (tall) looking for a bridge of this length, but this is partly an illusion because the floor beams for this bridge rest on top of the bottom chord eyebar heads, rather than being positioned below the deck via u-bolt hangers. This had the effect of raising the roadway up a bit. This bridge has substantial loss of historic integrity. The floor beams are replacements and the way they rest on the bottom chord is likely not how the original floor beams were positioned. The original floor beams were likely hung from u-bolt hangers. The most substantial alteration however is that all the verticals were replaced with rolled i-beams in 1954. Apparently this is also when the floorbeams were added. Finally, outriggers also appear to have been added to the bridge at this time. Also, original railings do not remain on the bridge.

In 2006, on Fairview Snodgrass Road, the deck of the bridge was wooden with an asphalt wearing surface. The abutments were originally stone, but concrete had been added in places. On another note, in 2006, sections of what looked like a truss bridge top chord or end post were found laying under the bridge. One was leaning up against the abutment, and another was laying on the dirt near the abutment. The top chord and end posts of the Fairview-Snodgrass Road Bridge are original so apparently these beams came from some other bridge that was demolished.

Despite alteration, the top chord, diagonals and bottom chord are original to the period of pin-connected truss bridges. The bridge still conveys information about how bridge's of the past were built, and the bridge is far more interesting to look at than any modern bridge. The bridge as a result still has heritage value. It was perhaps with this thinking that this bridge was lucky enough to be preserved.

2011 Relocation and Rehabilitation

HistoricBridges.org photo-documented this bridge in its original location, crossing Spring Creek in Miami County in 2006. Later, in 2011, the bridge was relocated and restored for pedestrian use on a non-motorized trail north of Troy Ohio. The main map page for this bridge reflects the current location of the bridge. To see the former, original location of the bridge click here. A photo of the bridge relocated and being restored is shown below. Photo courtesy Tom Barrett, Ohio Department of Transportation.

HistoricBridges.org visited and re-documented the bridge in its new location in 2014. The bridge is a great example of historic bridge preservation, and Miami County's efforts were recognized with an award from ODOT.

Construction Date and Builder of the Bridge

The National Bridge Inventory gave a 1913 construction date for this bridge and a 1954 rehabilitation date. As those familiar with pin-connected truss bridges know, 1913 is suspiciously late for a pin-connected truss. The story of this bridge is a bit more complicated.

Paul P. Huelskamp, Miami County Engineer provided the following explanation:

"According to the local lore regarding this bridge, it and its sister bridge around the corner on Statler Road, were both damaged/washed out in 1913. A new pony truss was installed on Statler Road in 1913 (a riveted truss that was ultimately replaced in 1997 with a prestress concrete box beam structure) and pieces/parts from the two damaged bridges, were used to erect the bridge on Fairview Road in 1913. So I agree that the parts are older than 1913. It was, however, erected as a unit on Fairview Road in 1913."

This history makes it somewhat complicated to describe typical bridge key facts like "construction date" and "bridge builder" since it has parts from multiple bridges, plus major alterations in 1913. That said, field observations of the bridge's parts reveal that a large portion of the trusses are composed of what appears to have originally been a pony truss built by the Smith Bridge Company of Toledo, Ohio in the 1880s. Evidence for this follows.

Some of the bottom chord eyebars of this bridge have unusually shaped heads that have a rounded rectangle shape. This shape was more common on 19th Century truss bridges, not 1913 truss bridges. Also, this shape was used by the Smith Bridge Company on bridges it built and can be seen on the Linwood Road Bridge for example. Additionally, the bottom chord terminates at the end post with a threaded rod and nut type connection. Moreover, the entire end post is cradled in a curved shoe/bearing that allows the entire end post to act like a rocker bearing for the bridge. This extremely unusual bearing design is a distinctive detail of bridges built by the Smith Bridge Company, and the threaded road bottom chord connection here was also used by the company. See the Hamilton Road Bridge for a proven Smith Bridge Company Bridge whose gallery has good photos of this detail. Without a doubt, the majority of parts on this bridge a from a product of the Smith Bridge Company, that likely dated to the 1880s, based on other bridges with similar details.

Although the bridge is highly altered, its retention of the unusual bottom chord eyebars, and more importantly, the even more unusual end post rocker detail, mean that this bridge is still a noteworthy historic bridge that displays a unique and distinctive detail of a prominent Ohio bridge builder.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory

Setting/Context

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural area of active farms.

Physical Description

The 1 span, 69'-long, pin-connected Pratt pony truss bridge is supported on concrete abutments. The bridge has eye-bar tension members and built-up upper chords. The verticals, which appear to be rolled sections, are likely replacement of the original built-up verticals. Welded outriggers have been added, and it appears the floorbeams were replaced too.

Integrity

Replacement vertical members and welded outriggers added. Floorbeams also appear to be replacement, 1954.

Summary of Significance

The bridge was determined eligible in 2007 based on its type/design and age in comparison to other bridges in the county and region. It is being moved to a bike path in the City of Piqua.

Pratt trusses were undoubtedly the most popular truss design of the last quarter of the 19th century and continued to be built into the 20th century, although eventually superseded in popularity by Warren trusses. The design, which initially was a combination of wood compression and iron tension members, was patented in 1844 by Thomas & Caleb Pratt. Ohio has three covered bridges that use this combination configuration, but they are all modern reconstructions based on the Pratt patent. The great advantage of the Pratt over other designs was the relative ease of calculating the distribution of stresses. More significantly, it translated well into an all-metal design in lengths of less than 200'. Significant surviving examples of all-metal Pratt trusses mostly date to the last quarter of the 19th century, and they are found with thru, pony, and the less common bedstead configuration. Prior to about 1890, a variety of panel point connections were in widespread use (including bolts, cast-iron pieces, and pins), but engineering opinion was coalescing around pins as the most efficient and constructible. Many of the connection details were proprietary and associated with individual builders or companies, and thus earlier examples are generally taken to be technologically significant in showing the evolution of the design. Later post-1890 Pratt trusses show a progression toward less variation in their details such that by 1900 the design was quite formulaic with few significant differences between the designs of various builders. This marked the end of the pin-connected Pratt's technological evolution and, in fact, it was soon waning and eclipsed in the highway bridge market by more rigid, rivet-connected truss designs, particularly the Warren but also riveted Pratts. The transition to riveted connections, which happened even earlier with railroads than highways, was in no small part due to concerns about stress reversals at the pins under heavier loads and improvements in pneumatic field riveting equipment in the early 1900s. In Ohio, Pratt truss highway bridges, whether pinned or riveted, were almost always built under the auspices of counties and local units of government; the Pratt was not a standard design of the state highway department.

In Ohio, there are 185 Pratt trusses dating from ca. 1874 to 1945 with at least 60 dating prior to 1900 (Phase 1A, 2008). The technologically significant unaltered examples of pin-connected Pratt trusses for the most part date prior to 1900 and have documented or attributed builders and dates of construction and/or significant connection or member details. Later post-1900 examples are less technologically significant. Significant unaltered examples of riveted-connected Pratt trusses date from ca. 1900 to 1915.

Justification

The bridge is one of over 150 extant pin-connected truss bridges dating from 1874 for pony trusses and 1876 for thru trusses. Twenty six predate 1888 and represent the era of experimentation that evolved into standardized designs by about 1888. This example has moderate significance because the genre and the fabricator are so well represented in Ohio and because it has been significantly altered.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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Photos and Videos: Fairview-Snodgrass Road Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

 
View Photo Gallery
2006 Bridge Photo-Documentation, Original Location
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos showing the bridge before relocation and rehab. 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.
View Photo Gallery
2006 Bridge Photo-Documentation, Original Location
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview and detail photos showing the bridge before relocation and rehab. 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.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2014 Bridge Photo-Documentation, New Location
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos showing the bridge after relocation and rehab. 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.
View Photo Gallery
2014 Bridge Photo-Documentation, New Location
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview and detail photos showing the bridge after relocation and rehab. 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.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer

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