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IN-42 Eel River Bridge

Poland Bridge

IN-42 Eel River Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 26, 2019

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
IN-42 Over Eel River
Rural: Clay County, Indiana: United States
Structure Type
Metal 10 Panel Rivet-Connected Parker Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Pre-Stressed Concrete Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1938 By Builder/Contractor: Vincennes Bridge Company of Vincennes, Indiana and R. McCalman of Danville, Indiana
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
175.0 Feet (53.3 Meters)
Structure Length
265.0 Feet (80.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
24 Feet (7.32 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 2 Approach Span(s)
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Bridge Documentation

This is an excellent example of a state standard plan through truss in Indiana. The original t-beam approach spans were replaced with pre-stressed concrete spans.

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Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Discussion of Truss Bridge

For previous structure, see Clay County, Poland Beach Covered Bridge. ISHC did not long keep on its roadways the timber trusses that it inherited from the counties. In 1937, it advertised to replace the old covered bridge with a three-span of state design. R. McCalman, Inc. of Danville, Indiana, successfully bid $45,434.69 in January 1938 to build the two 40-ft. reinforced concrete T-beam approach spans, the pier and abutment for a steel truss, and the coped approach railings with bush-hammered panels. The Vincennes Bridge Company of Vincennes, Indiana, won the contract to fabricate the truss for $22,704.59. The job was completed by early 1939. The ISHC used revised versions of the third-generation standard plan #475A for a 175-ft., riveted, Parker through-truss span with a 24-ft. roadway for this and a dozen other structures. Truss depth varied from 21 ft. 6 in. at the portal to 31 ft. 6 in. at midspan. Each truss carried ten 17-ft. 6-in. panels. Every top chord member is differently sloped; none is parallel with the lower chord; and all were fabricated from a pair of 15-in. channels (@40# for the endposts, fourth, and fifth panels, and @33.3# for the second and third). Two pairs of angles--all of the same size (6"x4"Ls)--riveted together with battens and buttressed in all but the two most outer panels with plates provide the lower chord's members. The truss webbing is also substantial. The verticals or posts, except for the hip one, consist of a pair of laced 10-in. channels (@15.3#). A 10-in. I (@39#) supplied the hip vertical. To protect the quite-tall trusses against wind and vehicle-induced stress, the verticals are buttressed with substantial latticed struts and heavy upper sway framing above the 15 ft. of roadway clearance. The portals used latticed sections, too. The diagonals combined a pair of angles with battens into heavier members in the outer panels (6"x4"Ls) than in the central ones (3.5"x3"Ls). A pair of angles (3"x3"Ls) and battens provide counters in the two most central panels. The ISHC used 33-in. I floor-beams (@141#) riveted to the verticals above the lower chord. Eight rows of heavy rolled I stringers (16"@36#) are attached to the floor-beams' sides. Together, the floor-beams and the stringers carry the concrete deck. A pair of angles supplies each lower sway- bracing member. Post-and-channel rails lined the inner sides of the trusses. From drift, to ferry, to covered timber trusses, this has been a traditional crossing of the Eel River. The steel span at the heart of the current structure illustrates a much-used, revised third-generation ISHC standard plan. The trusses--fabricated by a most-important Indiana builder--retain their original members. The original guard rails and concrete deck have been replaced, although the truss' coped concrete approach rails with bush-hammered panels remain. The two reinforced concrete T-beam spans have been replaced with continuous prestressed concrete I-beams. References Indiana State Highway Commission, Inventory of Bridges on State Highway System of Indiana (Indianapolis, 1989); Structure #42-C-3101; Contract #1586A & B; Superstructure Standard #475A. William Travis, History of Clay County (Chicago, 1909), I: 67-68, 73.

Discussion of Previous Covered Bridge

The sometimes sluggish Eel River gathered a major drift--the Rizley--in this area that early footmen often used as a natural bridge. William Parker ran a ferry at the road crossing from 1835 until Muehler and McNamara erected the Poland Beach Bridge, a 160-ft., Burr arch truss span around 1872. William B. Parker established a ferry across the Eel River directly west of Poland and operated it until 1872 when a bridge was built a short distance upstream by Muehler & Notter for $7,200. In 1882, Muehler & Notter received a $1,495 contract to build wing-walls for the Poland Bridge. The county sought bids in 1904 for "repair and strengthening of the floor system" of the Poland Bridge over Eel River. R. R. Moorman brought in the lowest and therefore the accepted proposal for $728. In 1932, the commissioners ordered the Pipe Line Co. to repair to siding of the Poland Bridge. For succeeding structures, see Clay County, State Highway Bridge #3101. References Clay County, "Commissioners Record," 9: 116, 139, 161,222; 20: 552-554; 34: 11. George E. Gould, Indiana Covered Bridges Thru the Years (1977), 30. William Travis, History of Clay County, Indiana (Chicago, 1909), 67-68, 73.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


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