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Clark Road Bridge

Clark Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: March 2, 2007

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Clark Road (CR-13) Over Scioto River
Location
Rural: Marion County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1916 By Builder/Contractor: Central Concrete and Construction Company of Canton, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1990
Main Span Length
160 Feet (49 Meters)
Structure Length
164 Feet (50 Meters)
Roadway Width
16 Feet (4.88 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
5130158

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

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

This historic bridge was demolished by Marion County in 2010!

The Clark Road Bridge is a beautiful example of an unusual anomaly in Ohio. By 1916, the pin-connected truss bridge was well on its way to becoming a thing of the past. One would expect to see riveted connections on a structure like the Clark Road Bridge. In addition, this bridge features extremely ornate design of this bridge, which included two decorative builder plaques, finials, and (today missing) further decoration mounted on top of the portal bracing. This type of decoration is more in line with truss bridges of the 1880s. By the early 20th century, the focus in metal truss construction was not longer on adding decorative elements to the bridge.

This bridge was graciously restored by Marion County in 1990. The restoration was done quite well, retaining the historic integrity on the bridge, and providing a durable coat of paint. However, recently, some motorist crashed into the bridge, damaging the bridge to the point that it had to be closed to all traffic. The fate of the bridge is now in question, and demolition is among the possible outcomes. For historic bridge enthusiasts this is a very frustrating situation. Not only might the bridge be lost, but this event might discourage future restorations as well. After all, Marion County put all this money into restoring the bridge, and now this costly event has occurred. Hopefully Marion County will decide to give motorists one more chance, and repair the damage. There may be solutions such as changes in the layout of guardrails that might better protect the bridge from out-of-control drivers.

People crossing historic bridges, particularly metal truss bridges are asked to do so with care and respect. These structures have stood the test of time and will continue to do so if used properly by those who cross them. Always cross a one-lane metal truss bridge at a very slow speed. Yield or stop before you cross the bridge and ensure that there is no other cars attempting to cross the bridge. In most cases, if another car is waiting, you should treat the bridge as a four-way stop. Examine the deck as you approach the bridge to check for ice or other hazards. It is important to show highway agencies that we are responsible drivers and do not need ugly modern bridges with shoulders as wide as the lanes themselves to cross safely. Even if you do not care for historic bridges, you should drive carefully because you don't want to wreck your car, nor do you want the inconvenience of a detour if you damage the bridge and it is closed to traffic. It is the opinion of this website that anyone who damages a historic bridge is completely at fault, and any motorist-caused damage is likely caused due to crossing either over the posted weight limit or crossing too fast for conditions, whether those conditions be weather, width of bridge, or alignment of bridge. Future legislation should enact financial penalties, perhaps calling on the motorist's insurance, for anyone who damages a historic bridge, which would in turn be used to repair any damage caused.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory

Setting/Context

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a sparsely developed, rural setting.

Physical Description

The 1 span, 164'-long, pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge is traditionally composed of built-up compression members and eye-bar and rod tension members. There are sub-lateral upper struts to provide extra stiffening due to the bridge's length. The A-frame portals are attractively finished with ball finials and two builders' plaques, most prominently an ornate circular plaque listing the names of the county commissioners in 1916. The bridge is supported on stone abutments.

Integrity

The bridge was hit by a car in 2004 and closed to traffic. It was rehabilitated and re-opened in 2007. The county sent the rehabilitation plans: an end-panel floorbeam hanger was replaced in-kind an cracked nut at one of the pin connections weld repaired. See attachment "e" for plans.

Summary of Significance

The 1916 pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge, although complete with architectural details, is a very late example of a common type/design and has no distinctive details or features. The architectural details are not considered enough to make it technologically or aesthetically significant. The not eligible recommendation of the prior inventory remains appropriate.

Pratt trusses were undoubtedly the most popular truss design of the last quarter of the 19th century and continued to be built into the 20th century, although eventually superseded in popularity by Warren trusses. The design, which initially was a combination of wood compression and iron tension members, was patented in 1844 by Thomas & Caleb Pratt. Ohio has three covered bridges that use this combination configuration, but they are all modern reconstructions based on the Pratt patent. The great advantage of the Pratt over other designs was the relative ease of calculating the distribution of stresses. More significantly, it translated well into an all-metal design in lengths of less than 200'. Significant surviving examples of all-metal Pratt trusses mostly date to the last quarter of the 19th century, and they are found with thru, pony, and the less common bedstead configuration. Prior to about 1890, a variety of panel point connections were in widespread use (including bolts, cast-iron pieces, and pins), but engineering opinion was coalescing around pins as the most efficient and constructible. Many of the connection details were proprietary and associated with individual builders or companies, and thus earlier examples are generally taken to be technologically significant in showing the evolution of the design. Later post-1890 Pratt trusses show a progression toward less variation in their details such that by 1900 the design was quite formulaic with few significant differences between the designs of various builders. This marked the end of the pin-connected Pratt's technological evolution and, in fact, it was soon waning and eclipsed in the highway bridge market by more rigid, rivet-connected truss designs, particularly the Warren but also riveted Pratts. The transition to riveted connections, which happened even earlier with railroads than highways, was in no small part due to concerns about stress reversals at the pins under heavier loads and improvements in pneumatic field riveting equipment in the early 1900s. In Ohio, Pratt truss highway bridges, whether pinned or riveted, were almost always built under the auspices of counties and local units of government; the Pratt was not a standard design of the state highway department.

In Ohio, there are 185 Pratt trusses dating from ca. 1874 to 1945 with at least 60 dating prior to 1900 (Phase 1A, 2008). The technologically significant unaltered examples of pin-connected Pratt trusses for the most part date prior to 1900 and have documented or attributed builders and dates of construction and/or significant connection or member details. Later post-1900 examples are less technologically significant. Significant unaltered examples of riveted-connected Pratt trusses date from ca. 1900 to 1915.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Clark Road Bridge

 
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
A collection of overview and detail photos. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original Size photos and Mobile Optimized photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

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Maps and Links: Clark Road Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

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