This bridge is similar to the Freese Road Bridge, but that is where similarity ends. Otherwise, this is an extremely rare and unique example of a continuous multi-span pin-connected pony truss. It is unusual to find two so close; they were likely built by the same builder. Multi-span pony trusses are uncommon enough, but a continuous multi-span pony truss is nearly unheard of. During the time of the pin-connected truss bridge, when multiple spans were needed the general solution was to build one with a simple span configuration. That is, each span between pier and pier/abutment would look and act as its own separate independent bridge structure. With a continuous configuration, from abutment to abutment the structure looks and acts as a single span, but piers are placed below parts of this long single span, thus it becomes a continuous multi-span bridge.
The Red Mills Road Bridge demonstrates this concept quite well. It retains excellent historic integrity. It is also a fairly old example, with an 1887 construction date. The bridge is wrought iron. Also, the pier for the bridge is a very unusual design, it is iron as well and is shaped similarly to the outriggers on the truss itself. The bridge features five panels on each span, for a total of ten panels on the entire continuous structure.
Thus, the Red Mills Bridge is an extremely rare structure that deserves nothing short of restoration. If it is insufficient for current traffic needs, it should be bypassed, but it should not be demolished under any circumstances. However, Tompkins County does indeed want to demolish this beautiful historic artifact. Currently, the New York SHPO is the only thing that stands in the county's way, as they are giving the county some trouble with this, and the county has been forced to re-evaluate the situation. However SHPO's only have limited power over road agencies, and thus it remains likely that this structure will still face demolition. If this bridge is demolished, a serious blow will have been dealt to New York's rich transportation heritage.
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