In 2006, HistoricBridges.org unofficially declared November Historic Bridge Awareness Month. November was selected for two reasons. One was to remember the anniversary of the demolition of the Shanley Road Bridge, which was one of the first bridges listed on HistoricBridges.org to face demolition. The other reason was because in November, as winter and the end of the construction season nears, it is a good time to reflect on the loss of historic bridges during the past summer. It is also a good time to note that the upcoming winter months are a great time to contact those in charge of historic bridges and try to encourage them to cancel plans to demolish historic bridges before future construction seasons begin. Lastly, November is election month in the United States, and presents an opportunity to both vote for elected officials who will support preservation and wise spending on transportation projects, and to contact elected officials and express support for the same.
2016 Spotlight: Springfield Bridge, Arkansas
The Springfield Bridge in Arkansas is at the spotlight of the 2016 Historic Bridge Awareness month because the actual work of saving this bridge is ongoing in November! Check the Workin' Bridges Facebook page throughout the month for updates on this project!
Martin Road Bridge, Shiawassee County, Michigan
M-86 Bridge, St. Joseph County, Michigan
Strawtown Koteewi Park Bridge, Hamilton County, Indiana (This project was just completed, so a webpage is not yet available)
Michigan was among the first states to bring hot riveting back from the abyss for use in historic bridge preservation projects. Initially in use only for bridges being used by non-motorized traffic only, the use of riveting in present-day rehabilitation projects has been expanded in Michigan to include riveting on historic bridges open to traffic.
Michigan has also advanced the use of pneumatic pack rust removal techniques. When performed by experienced an contractor, pack rust removal is a safe and effective way to put an end to the destructive force of pack rust, while also repairing and reversing the distortions caused by the pack rust. Previously used only on historic bridge projects, MDOT decided that this repair was beneficial enough to expand its use to bridges without historic significance.
Cambridge Springs Bridge, Crawford County, Pennsylvania. HistoricBridges.org, with the support of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, successfully argued to reassess the Cambridge Springs Bridge as eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
HistoricBridges.org slowly continues to expand its coverage of historic bridges in North America. Notable in 2016 is the ongoing addition of two states previously not documented on HistoricBridges.org: Kansas and Oklahoma. A few bridges from each state have already been added. Over the next few months, coverage for these states will expand to include substantial coverage o top historic bridges in each state.
There has never been a better time then now to contact your representative and tell them that you want an end to the wasteful Surface Transportation funding system which rewards agencies who defer maintenance and repairs and choose to let their bridges deteriorate, by giving such agencies demolition and replacement funds, while at the same time offering little funding assistance to these same agencies for maintenance and rehabilitation of existing bridges. Tell your representatives that you instead want to see a major increase in the amount of funds made available for the maintenance and repair of existing bridges, something that undoubtedly would help trim the budget, since the majority of the time a bridge rehabilitation project will cost less than a replacement project. Even better, routine maintenance activities can even help prevent the need for major rehabilitation projects.
Our nation's historic bridges are being demolished and replaced at a staggering rate, when many of them could easily be rehabilitated for less then the cost of their replacement. If you care for historic bridges, than speak out against this. By doing nothing, you only legitimize the current broken system which is destroying our heritage and wasting tax dollars at the same time.
In November 2010, HistoricBridges.org did a special article reflecting on the past decade of historic bridge activities, which sadly included a lot of significant losses. This article is archived here.