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Sparksville Bridge

Sparks Ferry Bridge / Jackson County Bridge 203

Sparksville Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: May 10, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Sparks Ferry Road (CR-1040 West) Over East Fork White River
Rural: Jackson County, Indiana and Washington County, Indiana: United States
Structure Type
Metal 10 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal 4 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Full-Slope Pony Truss, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1890 By Builder/Contractor: Youngstown Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
181 Feet (55.1 Meters)
Structure Length
424 Feet (129.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
15.4 Feet (4.69 Meters)
2 Main Span(s) and 1 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This bridge is noteworthy as a multi-span pin-connected truss that is a combination of pony and through truss spans. A bridge of significant length among surviving bridges of its type, its two through truss spans are exceptionally long for pin-connected Pratt trusses, at 179 feet each. The pony truss span has unusual miniature braces made of angles that begin toward the bottom of the vertical member at an angle to meet with the floorbeams. These may have been intended to function as small outriggers, except the braces are inside the truss web. Railroad pony truss bridges often display such details, but the use in highway bridges is extremely unusual. The reason why this was not commonly done is quite clear as it narrows the deck width and evidence of numerous impacts to these braces is evident, providing further evidence why this is a detail not commonly found on highway pony truss bridges.

 A replacement bridge along with a completely new road was built some distance west of this bridge, but fortunately the county was willing to leave this important historic bridge standing. The bridge has been left standing in an unrestored state for pedestrian traffic. Overall, the bridge appears to be in fair condition and the deck has been maintained. There were some vertical cracks noted in some of the vertical members around the railings on the through truss.  

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

The only extant Pratt built by this noted Ohio firm, the bridge retains its original members, including the quite decorated portals on the high throughs.

Architectural Description

The Youngstown Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio, fabricated this two-span, pin-connected Pratt through truss and a single-span pony truss for a 418'4" structure. This bridge is seated upon cut stone abutments, wingwalls, and piers. Intermediate verticals of laced channels subdivide the 179' through trusses into most of their ten panels. Eyebars provide the diagonals: pairs stretch toward center span from the top panel point to the bottom of all except the endpost panels; cylindrical eyebars with turnbuckles counter the others in the two most central panels. The 60' four-panel pony uses verticals of angles riveted together with stay plates, pairs of eyebars installed inward from top to bottom panel points in all panels, and adjustable cylindrical eyebars as counters in the two most central panels. U-bolted to the lower pins, girder floor beams carry the timber deck with its 16' roadway for all spans and 22' of vertical clearance for the throughs.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


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