This bridge is one of a handful of curved chord through girder bridges, sometimes called concrete camelback bridges, in Parke County. All of Parke County's surviving curved chord through girders should be considered historically and technologically significant. The bridges are historically significant because they represent the only surviving examples of this rare bridge type in Indiana. Further, only a select number of states in the country have any examples of this bridge type.
These concrete camelback bridges should be considered technologically significant as well. By incorporating a curve into the design, this not only increased the efficiency of the design, it also greatly increased the aesthetic value of the bridges. The graceful curves of this bridge type make them aesthetically pleasing. Straight chord through girder bridges are generally considered among the more plain and less visually appealing types of historic bridges. The aesthetic qualities of the curved girder bridge, those qualities being an integral and functional part of the bridge and not a decorative facade, should be considered to be a technologically significant feat: an effective union of function and form.
Most concrete through girders throughout the country including those with curved chords appear to have been limited to no more than 60 feet. Only Michigan, the undisputed leader in concrete curved chord through girders, appears to have regularly built curved chord through girders in excess of 60 feet in length with examples up to 90 feet. At 56 feet, this Parke County example is among the largest curved chord through girders outside of Michigan.
Unfortunately, Parke County's narrow-minded focus on the preservation of only its covered bridges with little to no recognition or preservation of other historic bridge types in the county has left these concrete camelback bridges ignored and suffering from a lack of preservation. The Rosedale Road Bridge in particular suffers from abutment problems that need to be repairs to ensure this bridge remains in good condition for decades to come. Parke County has also failed to post any interpretive signage for any of these historic concrete bridges, despite the fact that they are far more rare than covered bridges, both in Parke County and across the country. The covered bridges in the county, and even a metal truss bridge all have interpretive signage. HistoricBridges.org recommends that interpretive signage be installed for these concrete camelback bridges, and also recommends that rehabilitation projects be planned for these bridges to ensure their long-term existence.
Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey
Statement of Significance
Parke County has the only arched girders extant in Indiana. The arch was probably introduced to provide unusual girder depth at center for this extraordinarily long span and to eliminate redundant material at the ends. In addition, only a minority of concrete through girders use a slab rather than floor beams to support the roadway. The girders are also nicely decorated.
The concrete through girder has a pair of large
beams which flank the roadway and whose reinforcing rods are interlocked
with those of either floor beams or of a slab deck. Because of its
greater rigidity, the through girder can be extended beyond the T-beam's
ordinary span lentgh. In most cases, though, it has been preferred over
the T-beam only when headroom is critical; i.e, where the roadway is so
close to stream level that girders, which carry some of their load above
the roadway, provide greater assurance against obstructing the
Bibliography: Beam, Longest and Neff, Inc., Bridge
Inventory Rating, & Safety Inspection: Parke County (Indianapolis, 1974,
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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Crossing The Bridge
Full Motion Video
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