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.
This bridge is one of the many historic bridges along the Merritt Parkway. Each one has unique architectural detailing that is extensive enough that it is often hard to remember that most bridges are all the same bridge type, a concrete rigid frame. The few other bridge types include steel frame/deck girder, and concrete arch. The Madison Avenue Bridge is one of the more unusual and distinctive bridges on the Merritt Parkway. The shallow arch and lack of differentiation between railing and superstructure give this bridge a very thin and streamlined appearance. The bridge retains excellent historic integrity.
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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