The Merritt Parkway, the first divided limited access highway in Connecticut, is one of the most unique and historically significant highways in the United States. The roadway was designed to combine the beauty of a parkway with the function of a limited access highway. As such, it is an early example of a limited access highway, and a unique example of one which also includes aesthetics as a major design consideration. This design consideration is no more clear than it is with the bridges of the Merritt Parkway. Each bridge is unique, with no two bridges identical. While some other early parkways and limited access highways included aesthetic design in their bridges, the Merritt Parkway stands out as a large, complete, and well-preserved example. In addition, its bridges display a far wider diversity in design and aesthetic treatment from bridge to bridge than other similar roadways which the Merritt Parkway might be compared to. A large number of the bridges on the Merritt Parkway remain today well-preserved and not demolished. However it is true that some bridges have been demolished and replaced, some mimicking the original bridge's design, and others do not.
HAER comments that in 1988 this bridge was slated for replacement. The bridge seen today however appears to be the original bridge very carefully and thoroughly repaired, otherwise it is a rare example of a modern bridge which replicates the original bridge. National Bridge Inventory lists the bridge as the original bridge, and being rehabbed in 1995. However, NBI data can often be inaccurate.
Either way. projects on the Merritt Parkway bridges should focus on rehabilitation, restoring original bridges and original bridge material, not replacing the bridge and its original materials, even if it is possible to construct a replica with modern materials. Modern bridges cannot be considered historic, while repaired old bridges can be.
In 2008, HistoricBridges.org traveled the Merritt Parkway
and using a high-speed DSLR camera, collected a series of elevation overview
photos of a large portion of the historic Merritt Parkway overpass bridges,
taken from a moving car. Time constraints did not allow for a full
photo-documentation of the bridges. As such, only a handful of photos for
each bridge is currently available on this website. These photos help
document the historic Merritt Parkway as a whole, and provide a framework
for a full photo-documentation of the Merritt Parkway Bridges in the future,
and also compliment the existing Historic American Engineering Record (HAER)
documentation for the Merritt Parkway and its bridges. HAER has already
completed an extensive documentation which includes measured drawings of the
bridges and a massive 100+ page historical narrative, all contained within
HAER's Merritt Parkway page. The link is available above. In addition, HAER
also completed individual documentation for many of the bridge structures on
the Merritt Parkway.
The HistoricBridges.org HSR Rating applies to the bridge structure as an individual structure, and does not consider its significance as a part of the Merritt Parkway highway and associated greater group of bridges. The HSR Rating would be much higher for each bridge if this were taken into account, since the Merritt Parkway is one of the most important historic highways in the country, and the bridges are one of the main parts of the highway.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Merritt
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