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Stone Sign Post Road Bridge

Stone Sign Post Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: November 7, 2015

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Stone Sign Post Road Over Plum Brook
Location
Rural: Hunterdon County, New Jersey: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1903 By Builder/Contractor: J. W. Scott of Flemington, New Jersey

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
2003
Main Span Length
28 Feet (8.5 Meters)
Structure Length
30 Feet (9.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
15.4 Feet (4.69 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
100D390

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is one of two similar bridges in this county that are otherwise extremely rare and unique to the county. They are among the shortest pony truss spans ever encountered. The other one is the Peck's Ferry Bridge.

This bridge is the lesser altered of the two. Aside from the extremely short length, the other unusual details include the decorative ball finials at the center of the span on the top chord. Below this was a plaque which sadly had (very recently) been smashed to pieces proably by some idiot driving, texting, and drinking beer all at the same time. How else could you be dumb enough to run your car into such a short bridge?! Finally, the other unsusual detail is the lattice railing with ornamental buttons on them. The railings also have ball finials at the ends. The vertical member in the center of the bridge, with an eye connected to a pin at the bottom chord and threaded into the finial at the top chord, is a structurally unusual detail.

The historic bridge inventory comments are confusing because they make it sound like the loop-forged vertical eyebar member and its finial connector at the top are not original. Certainly these elements are original, what they appear to mean is the outrigger at that location isn't original. At least that is the only alteration noted in that area by HistoricBridges.org. The floor beam is also not original.

Main Plaque

B  H  BURD
A  J  BLACKWELL
G  W  FULPER
T  SUYDAM
L  C  POTTS  DIR
1903

Information and Findings From New Jersey's Historic Bridge Inventory

 Summary

The 2-panel pony truss bridge is a hybrid modified Warren design with predominantly riveted connections. The reinforced floorbeam is suspended from a pin at the lower panel points. A non-functioning vertical rod extends from the pin and is secured to the top chord by a ball finial. The original lattice railings remain. It's similar to nearby 100D390. Despite 1970s minor alterations, the original design is preserved. It is historically significant as the work of a local fabricator and its design.

Setting/Context

The bridge carries one lane of a quiet country road over a minor stream in a wooded setting with sparse housing. It is at the crossroads of three lightly traveled country roads. The setting is unspoiled.

Physical Description

The two-panel, pin-connected slightly skewed Warren pony truss bridge has several unusual features. The top chord is a riveted box member consisting of angles and plate and a continuous cover plate, bent at the inclined end posts. Gusset plates secure the diagonals at the lower panel points. The bottom chord and diagonals are toe-in angles. The vertical member, a modification to the original design made after 1974, consists of two angles with a center separating batten and a central rod which threads through the top chord into a fastening finial. The bottom of the rod is a forged loop that passes around the pin that U hanger for the single flame-cut floor beam. The bridge is supported on random fieldstone abutments with wingwalls. The original medallion and lattice railing remains, but collision damage has buckled the east end post and railing. Concrete scour protection has been added, and a concrete toe wall has been added to the east abutment. Other minor repairs include welded reinforcing plates at the bottom of one inclined end post.

Historical and Technological Significance

The diminutive pony truss bridge is technologically distinguished because it is a hybrid design variation on a Warren truss that reflects the experimental nature of metal truss bridge design in the 19th century. One of two nearly identical spans built over Plum Brook between 1900 and 1903, the designer is not documented, but it is probable that it was the builder of both spans, J. W. Scott, a fabricator from Flemington. According to Hubert Schmidt, Scott operated a foundry which specialized in the manufacture of iron bridges "during the latter part of the nineteenth century." (Schmidt, 220.) Scott also built two thru-truss bridges at Woodfern in Somerset County (18B0511, 18B0512). Like its companion (100D390), the bridge has minor alterations and repairs, but its design integrity and setting have not been compromised. The two bridges are the only documented examples of their design in the state, and while not representing the state of engineering or understanding of sound engineering principles of their day, do represent the variety and idiosyncrasy of bridge designs that characterize the heyday of the metal truss bridge era. Because both bridges are relatively well preserved, both have been evaluated as significant.

Boundary Description and Justification

The bridge is evaluated as individually significant. The boundary is thus limited to the bridge itself and includes the superstructure and substructure.

Sources

Hunterdon County Engineer's Office, Bridge card D388. Schmidt, Hubert G. Rural Hunterdon: An Agricultural History. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1945.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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