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Mermill Road Bridge

Mermill Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: March 9, 2007 and July 8, 2009

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Mermill Road Over Rocky Ford
Location
Rural: Wood County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1925 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
58 Feet (18 Meters)
Structure Length
60 Feet (18 Meters)
Roadway Width
23.3 Feet (7.1 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
8738858

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

Although their appearance is quite different, this bridge functionally appears to be based on the ideas behind the unique concrete curved chord through girder bridges designed and built in Michigan. The design was simple, yet it was not known to be built widely outside of Michigan's borders. Ohio is an exception however and it has a number of remaining concrete curved chord girders, however. The design essentially consisted of taking the standard concrete girder bridge and adding an arch shape to the girders. This was likely done to increase strength, improve efficient use of materials, and enhance the physical appearance of the structure. Although the Mermill Road Bridge does not feature a highly defined curve, the idea behind having the girder taller in the center suggests the thinking was the same when this bridge was constructed. In addition, the 1925 construction date of this Ohio bridge is right at the same time these bridges were being built in Michigan.

The bridge has not been maintained and is in poor condition. There are numerous cracks in the concrete. In addition, the deck was overlaid with asphalt which trapped moisture in the concrete deck. Further, dirt has been allowed to gather at the edges of the roadway on the deck and grass is now growing. This all indicates improper maintenance. Now, Wood County wants to demolish this historic bridge.

The below photos were provided by Ohio Department of Transportation and they show detail under the bridge, an angle that was not accessible during HistoricBridges.org's documentation of the bridge. The photos reveal that the deterioration is also underneath the bridge in the form of efflorescence and cracking.

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 one span, 60'-long, reinforced concrete thru girder bridge with articulated floorbeams is supported on concrete abutments. The girders are shaped.

Summary of Significance

The 1925 thru girder bridge is an undistinguished example of a standardized bridge type in use from the mid 1910s to 1930s. It is not technologically significant. Reinforced-concrete thru girder bridges are composed of a pair of cast-in-place longitudinal girders and transverse floorbeams or deck slab (the former is the case with most Ohio examples) that are connected by the arrangement of the steel reinforcing bars. The roadway passes between the paired girders, which are the main supporting members and also serve as railings. The girders are commonly very large in appearance (18" to 30" wide and 4' to 6' deep) and have deep panels to save on weight. The depth of the girders is related to span length with the longer the span the greater the depth. In many cases, the girders are shaped to achieve the greatest depth of beam at mid-span where it is required to support the design moments (stresses). The shaped girder is a design detail to accommodate longer and/or wider spans and/or heavier design loads, it is not aesthetic.

Like other reinforced-concrete bridge types, including the slab and T beam, the thru girder appeared nationally and in Ohio during the first decade of the 20th century. The oldest surviving example in the state, dated to 1905, is located in Morrow County (5930669, Phase 1A Survey, 2008). In Ohio, the type does not appear to have been widely used until after its adoption as a state standard in 1915. Of the approximately 60 identified surviving examples, only three are confirmed to predate 1915. Between 1915 and 1924, the department issued standard plans for thru girder bridges in span lengths ranging from 27' to 65' and roadway widths from 16' to 24', which account for the vast number of Ohio's surviving examples. They also developed an unusual, and perhaps unique to Ohio, cantilevered thru girder design that was adopted as a standard in 1922. The only known surviving example of the cantilevered design is in Gallia County (2742322).

The thru girder bridge type played a prominent role in state and county efforts to improve Ohio's roads and bridges in the 1920s, but over time it proved to be one of the least successful of the standard designs and its use was diminishing by 1929 and had ended by 1940. The majority of Ohio's surviving examples (35 of 60) date from 1922 to 1930. Over time, the thru girder proved to be less economical than T beams for the same range of span lengths and was limited to relatively narrow roadway widths (about 24' max.). By 1928, George A. Hool, a noted authority on reinforced-concrete bridge construction, reported that "from a standpoint of economy, the thru girder should not be built except where insufficient headroom or other local conditions prevent the use of the deck girder [T beam]." Thru girders were also difficult to widen, a concern that was increasingly on the minds of bridge engineers by the late 1920s.

The body of engineering knowledge soon reached the conclusion that thru girders were not as successful or versatile as other standard types. The thru girder can be viewed as a 'dead end' in the evolution of bridge technology, and this limits the bridge type's significance. Many state highway departments did not use thru girders or stopped building them in the 1920s. And even though Ohio's engineers continued to use thru girders somewhat longer than engineers in many other states, they reached the same conclusions about their disadvantages. The thru girder's contribution to the historical development of Ohio's highways simply was not as great as many other standard types because of its limitations and shorter period of use.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Mermill Road Bridge

 
View Photo Gallery
2009 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos, taken July 8, 2009. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2009 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos, taken July 8, 2009. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2007 Bridge Photo-Documentation
A collection of overview and detail photos, taken March 9, 2007. 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: Mermill Road Bridge

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

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