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Freedom Bridge

Owen County Bridge 99

Freedom Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 19, 2016

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Monon High Bridge Trail Over IN-25 (Hoosier Heartland Highway)
Delphi: Carroll County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1898 By Builder/Contractor: Lafayette Bridge Company of Lafayette, Indiana
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
298.9 Feet (91.1 Meters)
Structure Length
303.0 Feet (92.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
16 Feet (4.88 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

This bridge has an impressive history. It was constructed in 1898 as a replacement for two spans of a multi-span covered bridge that was partuially destroyed. This location was in Freedom (Owen County) Indiana, CR-590 over the White River. In 2001 it was replaced, and put into storage and after some change in plans the final decision was to restore and erect the bridge over IN-25 at Delphi (Carroll County) Indiana as a pedestrian overpass. Here, the bridge carries the Monon High Bridge Trail.

There are two things that make this bridge unique and highly noteworthy. Firstly, the bridge is historically significant as a pin-connected Pennsylvania truss. This is a complex truss configuration that represents a significant design, fabrication, and erection effort. It was used for long simple truss spans. In the context of Indiana, it is notable for its long span length and construction date. The bridge also retains good historic integrity with few notable alterations to the truss.

This bridge is also unique and significant for its reuse as a pedestrian overpass on a limited access highway. While it is possible some historians might question the different use of the bridge since it was originally designed to carry a road over a river, a quick visit to this bridge should convince most people that this is a spectacular reuse of this bridge. Expressways are notoriously boring and devoid of scenery (this one being no exception), so in such a setting this amazing bridge is a welcome and stunning interuption to the monotony of expressway driving. The experience for a driver on IN-25 is very impressive with the large truss looming over the highway. The height of the truss at center span from lower chord pin to upper chord pin is 44.5 feet. It also offers drivers a nearly mid-span elevation view of the Pennsylvania truss, allowing for the complex truss design to be recognized and seen. This angle of viewing would often be difficult to acquire without a boat if the bridge were over a river. For pedestrians walking on the bridge the bridge offers an equally impressive experience as the complex, tall truss rises over the walkway. As an overpass bridge, it by its nature has to have tall fencing to keep people from throwing things on the highway below. This fencing would all but block the view of many truss bridge types, such as a pony truss, or even a typical Pratt truss. But for a long, tall, complex span like this Pennsylvania truss, the fencing is easy to ignore as most of the "visual action" including many truss members and all the overhead bracing occurs above the top of the fence line.

It is hoped this bridge's reuse will inspire similar projects elsewhere.

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Architectural Description

The Lafayette Bridge Company of Lafayette, Indiana, fabricated the pin-connected Pennsylvania through-truss span at the center of this structure. The old span rests upon the original cut stone abutment and pier. Four concrete-encased steel beam approaches extend to the west upon concrete piers and the original stone abutment. Alternating verticals of laced channels and laced double angles divide the through span into sixteen panels. A two-panel side section has been added to the standard twelve-panel pattern. The four-panel central section contains a member fabricated of laced double angles which is placed parallel to and midway between the chords in the two most central panels and uses double-intersecting diagonals and counters (with adjustable sub-ties). Each of the two double-panel side sections has double-intersecting diagonals and adjustable sub-ties, too. The side section closest to center also contains the added horizontal member between the chords. Double die-forged eye-bars provide all the diagonals. Riveted to pin-plates, the I floor-beams carry the concrete deck with its 16' roadway and 13'6" of vertical clearance. The only extant Pennsylvania trusses built by this once prolific Indiana firm, this structure is unusual for extending the twelve-panel pattern to sixteen with extra side sections. The through truss retains its original members, including curved portal braces and decoratively latticed portals and guardrails. The superstructure was dismantled in 2001 and moved to Conner Prairie for restoration and re-erection. Conner Prairie canceled the project and donated the superstructure members to the City of Delphi where restoration and re-erection on the Monon trail over the Hoosier Heartland Highway are slated for 2015. References Beam, Longest & Neff, Inc., Owen County Bridge Inventory Rating & Safety Inspection (Indianapolis, 1973, 1996). Associated Engineering Consultants, Inc., Bridge Reinspection Study & Report: Owen County (Nashville, 1978). bridge nameplate.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


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Maps and Links: Freedom Bridge

The bridge was previously located at these coordinates: 39.20528, -86.86583.

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