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Foos Road Bridge

TR-437 Bridge

Foos Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 7, 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Foos Road (TR-437) Over Prices Creek
Rural: Preble County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1931 By Builder/Contractor: Brookville Bridge Company of Brookville, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
65 Feet (19.8 Meters)
Structure Length
75 Feet (22.9 Meters)
Roadway Width
20 Feet (6.1 Meters)
1 Main 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

About This Bridge

This bridge is a warren pony truss with riveted connections and a polygonal top chord. The bridge features v-lacing under the top chord. The deck is concrete with an asphalt wearing surface. There are rocker bearings at the east end of the bridge. There was another bridge similar to this on Camden College Corner Road. The bridges were built by the Brookville Bridge Company. Following the demolition of the Camden College Corner Road Bridge, this bridge should be reevaluated as having additional historic significance at the local level.

Two Nearby Tragedies on US-40: One a Bridge, Another a Man

There also used to be a two-span example of this bridge design, built by this bridge company, on nearby US-40. ODOT elected to demolish the bridge in 2002, rather than rehabilitating it, re-locating it, or bypassing it for preservation as a pedestrian structure. This is of course the first tragedy. The second happened long ago, when that US-40 Bridge was being built. As DOT's typically do, as "mitigation" for demolishing a historic bridge, they placed an interpretive plaque near the ugly replacement bridge. This plaque stated that the historic bridge "faithfully served the traveling public from 1926 to 2002." Of course it served traffic faithfully: it was a well-built pony truss! It would have continued to serve faithfully if it had been rehabilitated rather than obliterated by ODOT! ODOT also mounted a memorial plaque that came from the historic bridge when it was first constructed. As it turns out, it was on that US-40 Bridge, that Herman S. Fox, the president of the Brookville Bridge Company died while directing the construction. The plaque didn't say if the death was on or off site, nor whether it was from related to the construction of the bridge at all. This is one of the reasons why it is important to preserve historic truss bridges. Sometimes people died to build these bridges. Even if they didn't die while building them, they are still a tribute to the people who built them, a memorial of sorts. To destroy them, especially when numerous preservation alternatives are clearly available, is to desecrate a monument to their achievements as a person. With this bridge gone, it is clear additional need to preserve the Foos Road Bridge exists.

 One aggravating thing was that the interpretive plaque on the US-40 Bridge dedicated the new, ugly bridge (which looks like little more than a slab of concrete) to Herman Fox. It is more of an insult than an honor to dedicate a slab of concrete to a bridge builder, or anyone for that matter. It would be like dedicating a toilet to someone! No one does that, because it would be interpreted as an insult. Instead, the preservation of the Foos Road Bridge would be a far better way to honor Herman Fox.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory


The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural area of active farms.

Physical Description

The 1 span, 75'-long, rivet-connected Warren pony truss has polygonal upper chord and verticals. The web members are rolled sections and the chords are built-up.

Summary of Significance

The 1931 Warren pony truss is a late example of its type/design with no distinguishing features. It has riveted connections, typical of Warren trusses from about 1900 to the 1940s when riveted connections began to be phased out in favor of welded connections. The weld-connected Warren trusses continue to be a popular bridge type/design on county roads in Ohio. The survey has identified more than 500 pre-1961 Warren pony truss bridges, making them the most common truss type/design surviving in the state. This example is not historically significant for its technology or context. More distinguished examples better represent the significance of the type/design in the development of the state's road systems. The not eligible recommendation of the prior inventory remains appropriate.

Warren trusses are the most common design found in Ohio and the nation. The Ohio Phase 1A survey (2008) has identified more than 500 examples dating from 1897 to 1961, accounting for well over half of the approximately 800 pre-1961 metal trusses. The Warren design was particularly well suited to rigid (riveted, and later welded connections), but not as well suited to pin connections; this helps to explain its popularity in the 20th century rather than the 19th century, although it is based on a British patent issued to engineers James Warren and Willoughby Monzani in 1848. In the U.S., the popularity of the Warren truss coincided with improvements in pneumatic field riveting equipment starting about 1900. The Warren, which is based on a series of equilateral triangles, is identified by its simplicity of design, ease of construction with equal-sized members, and ability of some diagonals to act in both tensions and compression. Warren trusses are often stiffened by the addition of verticals; they can also have polygonal (sloped) upper chords to achieve greatest depth at midspan.

Warren trusses were a standard design of the Ohio State Highway Department in the 1910s and 1920s, but they achieved their greatest popularity with county engineers, who purchased the bridges from Ohio fabricators such as the Champion Bridge Co. and the Mt. Vernon Bridge Co. Fewer than 25 surviving rivet-connected Warren trusses date prior to 1915, and they represent the period when the rivet-connected design solidified its position as the most popular prefabricated county truss design.

A noteworthy change in the technological development of Warren trusses was the transition from riveted to welded connections that began in the mid to late 1930s. The development was based on improvements in arc-welding equipment and the propagation of welding techniques as a substitute for riveting in many fields of construction, such as steel-hull ships and steel-frame buildings. While most of Ohio's remaining truss fabricators went out of business in the depression of the 1930s, Ohio Bridge Corporation (OBC) of Cambridge grew its business on the development of a standard weld-connected Warren pony truss with polygonal upper chords in the years immediately following WWII. OBC remains in operation and many Ohio counties continue to find the weld-connected Warren trusses to be a desirable economical alternative to other bridge types. More than 360 of the 500 Warren trusses in the study are weld-connected and most are attributable to OBC from the late 1940s to 1960. It is the early examples of weld-connected Warren trusses dating from the mid 1930s to mid 1940s that are the technologically significant examples.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


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