The historic bridge superstructure which once stood here has been demolished and replaced with a pre-stressed slab of concrete. Pictured on this website is the replacement structure. It is standard HistoricBridges.org policy to never include modern bridges within the website, however an exception was made with this Merritt Parkway Bridge because the facade placed on the outside of the bridge nearly replicates the architecture of the original bridge superstructure, although there are some discrepancies. In addition, the bridge's substructure (abutments) may contain original parts and materials, although more research is needed to confirm. Original substructures alone are insufficient for any structure to be considered a historic bridge, however. This non-historic pre-stressed concrete slab/beam bridge has no heritage value. It is imperative that future bridge work on the remaining historic Merritt Parkway Bridges not include demolition and replacement and instead focus on preservation techniques such as routine maintenance and structural rehabilitation. As for this particular bridge, assuming the abutments are original, suggested preservation work would be to remove the pre-stressed concrete superstructure from the bridge and replicate a concrete rigid-frame superstructure from the original historic bridge structural plans.
HAER did not make it to this bridge prior to demolition either, and their photos are of the replaced bridge as well. The original historic bridge was demolished without ever even having been properly photo-documented.
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.
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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