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Rogers Bridge

Rogers Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: November 12, 2014

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Pipeline (Abandoned Rogers Bridge Road) Over Chattahoochee River
Location
Johns Creek: Fulton County, Georgia and Gwinnett County, Georgia: United States
Structure Type
Metal 12 Panel Pin-Connected Pennsylvania Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1912 By Builder/Contractor: Roanoke Bridge Company of Roanoke, Virginia
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
225.0 Feet (68.6 Meters)
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

Bridge Status: This extremely rare truss bridge was demolished to be replaced with a modern non-historic bridge FALSELY ADVERTISED as a

2022: Let the record be absolutely clear. Claims that the replacement bridge will be a "replica" are highly misleading and inaccurate. Even the project rendering on the project website shows a bridge with gusset plates (ie weld-connected or bolt-connected), which is a totally different connection method! The cost to fully replicate a pin connected truss bridge in the complex Pennsylvania truss configuration using rivets, v-lacing, pins, loop-forged wrought iron eyebars (which require wrought iron not available commercially anymore) would far exceed the cost to restore this historic bridge, and the loop forged eyebars specifically would have to be fake steel cutouts because a loop forge is not feasible with steel, and requires wrought iron. It is extremely frustrating to see the general public mislead in this manner. What the general public will see when this project, which destroyed a rare truss bridge in a state with very few surviving truss bridges of ANY kind, will NOT be a replica!!! 

Yet perhaps the most insulting aspect of this project was the bridge removal. The bridge was not demolished in a traditional destructive manner such as implosion or simply "dropping" the bridge in the river. It was non-destructively "picked" off the river with a crane... an EXTREMELY expensive process for a bridge of this size due to the crane size required. See photos on their project website. Many taxpayer dollars were expended to remove the bridge like this. With a non-destructive removal like this, the historic bridge could have (and should have) been set on the ground as a non-structural exhibit, at minimal cost. This would have still counted as preservation in HistoricBridges.org's opinion, and would have retained this highly significant historic bridge.

Section 106 Records:

To get an idea how how poorly Section 106 was conducted, please consider a letter HistoricBridges.org wrote in response to the initiation of the project where the city attempted to claim the bridge wasn't even eligible for the National Register!!!!

The report states:
The property is considered Not Eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
Consulting Party Response/Comments: We are in total disagreement with this finding. In the context of Georgia’s bridges, and in comparison with other states and standard practice of the NRHP… By every measure known, this bridge meets eligibility for the NRHP under Criterion C. Further this report struggles to even defend its claim of non-eligibility through numerous contradictory statements and apparent lack of understanding of the character-defining features of the bridge.


The report states:
Rogers Bridge is a 228' -long, pin-connected Pennsylvania thru truss bridge that
appears to retain most of its original design elements with the exception of the deck, which has
been completely removed


The original struts, floor beams, stringers, sub-diagonals, polygonal top
chord, and pm connections remain present on the bridge.

Consulting Party Response/Comments: This is correct, and is important in understanding our later comments.

The report states:
The bridge's setting has been extensively compromised by development in its view-shed.
Consulting Party Response/Comments: This is correct, but has no bearing on the bridge’s eligibility for the NRHP under Criterion C.


The report states:
The Pennsylvania Thru Truss was not a significant trend in bridge design in the state of Georgia-neither for highways or railroads. The historical significance of this subtype of truss bridge is derived from its association with railroads from roughly the mid-l 870s through the early twentieth century.
Consulting Party Response/Comments: All this indicates is that this bridge is a rare example of this important truss bridge type in Georgia. It is outstanding as a rare example of this important bridge type which was an economical method of providing a long clear span over a waterway. As such, this is one of many bullet points that indicate that the bridge should be considered Eligible under Criterion C.

The report states:
This particular resource is the only example of a Pennsylvania Thru Truss with pinned connections
in the state of Georgia; but it is nonetheless a notably late example of a truss bridge with pinned connections.

Consulting Party Response/Comments: As the only surviving example of a bridge type that is also uncommon nationwide, this is a rare bridge in the State of Georgia. As such, this is one of many bullet points that indicate that the bridge should be considered Eligible under Criterion C. 

Additionally, the bridge’s use of pin connections reflects the design of the bridge; short-span trusses were the first bridges to commonly use rigid riveted connections, while longer, more complex truss designs such as the Pennsylvania continued to use pin connections into the 1910s and even in some cases into the 1920s. As such, the bridge embodies the characteristics of an early 20th Century Pennsylvania truss bridge. During this period of transition to riveted connections, this bridge demonstrates the characteristics of Pennsylvania truss bridges to continue to use pinned connections into a period when shorter trusses were increasingly using riveted connections. As such, this is one of many bullet points that indicate that the bridge should be considered Eligible under Criterion C.

The report states:
In summary, despite being the only example of its subtype in the state, the resource is a later
example of its subtype and conveys a type of connection that was already outdated by the time the
bridge was built.

Consulting Party Response/Comments: This statement is not correct, pin connections were NOT outdated for use in Pennsylvania truss bridges. Even the greatest engineer of the 20th Century, Ralph Modjeski selected pin connections for his Metropolis Bridge over the Ohio river, which was completed in 1917. For larger, complex truss configurations like the Pennsylvania truss, pin connections continued to be used until 1920.

The report states:
Even if considered in the broader context of extant truss bridges in the state, this
bridge is one of 37 other truss bridges in that category. According to the updated GHBS, it is not
the oldest of these bridges (12 were constructed before 1900 with the oldest dating to circa 1840),
nor is it the longest (12 have longer spans), or the only example spanning the Chattahoochee River.
Consulting Party Response/Comments: If this statement is suggesting that the total number of surviving truss bridges in the state of Georgia then on this basis alone the bridge should be NRHP eligible under Criterion C as a rare surviving example of a metal truss bridge. 37 is a very small number of truss bridges for a state the size of Georgia. Other states such as Michigan declared all metal truss bridges with historic integrity as Eligible when the total population dropped to around 100 truss bridges.

Additionally, this count may not take into consideration that all three of the Lake Lanier (Chattahoochee River) truss bridges are currently being demolished and replaced. It may also not take into account the recent collapse of the abandoned Jones Bridge. 

The report states:
In addition, it does not appear to be one of the most intact examples of the surviving truss bridges
in the state. The loss of the bridge deck, visible abutment damage, partial collapse of the approach
railings, continued settling of the piles, and the installation of a non-historic sewer pipe that not
only runs from one end of the bridge to the other but is also directly attached to the bridge's floor
beams, have all diminished the bridge's design integrity. For all of these reasons, the resource is
considered not eligible for inclusion in the National Register under Criterion C.

Consulting Party Response/Comments: This statement is not correct. Every single feature mentioned (deck, abutment, approach railing, piles, and the sewer pipe) are NOT character-defining features of a metal truss bridge that is NRHP Eligible under Criterion C. Further, earlier in the report it states that the bridge “appears to retain most of its original design elements with the exception of the deck” and further states that “The original struts, floor beams, stringers, sub-diagonals, polygonal top
chord, and pin connections remain present on the bridge.” The character-defining features of this bridge are the metal trusses which display the Pennsylvania truss configuration. As such, this is one of many bullet points that indicate that the bridge should be considered Eligible under Criterion C.

The report states:
The resource has been determined to possess integrity in the areas of location, materials,
and workmanship. It is located on its original site of construction, exhibits workmanship primarily
through its pinned connections, vertical members, supporting members, and polygonal top chords
and appears to retain most of its original building materials.

Consulting Party Response/Comments: This statement completely contradicts the previous paragraph and is essentially an admission that the bridge does have historic integrity. We agree that the bridge retains historic integrity of its character-defining features. This fact, as well as the conflicting logic in the report all are one of many bullet points that indicate that the report’s eligibility finding is in error, and that the bridge should be considered Eligible under Criterion C.

The report states:
Because the bridge was opened to traffic until the late 1970s, it is unknown whether or not any original design features were replaced or modified as part of routine or preventative maintenance on the bridge up until that time.
Consulting Party Response/Comments: Actually, due to changing construction techniques it is possible from a simple field visit to get a good sense of any alterations to the bridge throughout its service life. I have conducted such a field visit. No major alterations were noted to the character-defining features of the bridge.

The report states:
The resource has been determined not to possess integrity in the areas of setting, design, feeling, or association. Its historic setting has been considerably diminished by visible non-historic development on both sides of the bridge. Design integrity has been diminished by the loss of the bridge deck, visible abutment damage, partial collapse of the approach railings, continued settling of the piles, and the installation of a non-historic sewer pipe. Collectively, these modifications have similarly diminished the resource's ability to adequately convey integrity of feeling as an intact example of an early twentieth century truss bridge.

Consulting Party Response/Comments: This statement is incorrect. It contradicts the statement made earlier that “The resource has been determined to possess integrity in the areas of location, materials,
and workmanship.” The other elements described are either not character-defining features of the bridge, or they are issues that are not considered in an assessment of Criterion C eligibility. Further, changes in the deck, presence of a utility pipe, etc, do not change the bridge’s function as a Pennsylvania truss bridge. Changes in metal truss bridge usage are not cause for ineligibility; this is confirmed based on bridge evaluations nationwide.

-End of Letter Excerpt-

The Section 106 Process went downhill from there, although the city was forced to acknowledge the bridge as historic, they refused to accept that a company like Bach Steel was capable (and ready and interested) to restore this bridge for pedestrian use, and that such restoration would be the best investment for the city by far, as a restored bridge would have been ready for another 100 years of service, and the quality of the original construction of this bridge, which largely remained intact, far exceeds the quality of modern steel pedestrian bridges.

Original Narrative:

This bridge is a rare example of a pin-connected Pennsylvania truss in Georgia. It originally carried a highway, which was abandoned long ago. The bridge deck has been removed, a large water pipeline now utilizes the bridge instead, running right down the middle of the bridge. The bridge originally had a series of steel stringer approach spans at the southern end. These are not utilized by the pipeline. The approach spans are supported by riveted steel bents. The bents have an unusual detail in that they extend above the stringers and also function as the brackets/outriggers for the railings.

It would be nice to see this bridge fully restored and and turned into a shared use bridge for pedestrians. There is room on the bridge for both a walkway and the pipeline. The south end of the bridge is right next to a park, so a pedestrian bridge would serve an apparent function as a park attraction, and potentially a way for people on the other side of the river to access the park.

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Maps and Links: Rogers Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

Search For Additional Bridge Listings:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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