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Waterville Bridge

Waterville Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: October 18, 2009

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Mechanic Street (OH-64) Over Maumee River
Waterville: Lucas County, Ohio and Wood County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1948 By Builder/Contractor: Bethlehem Steel Company of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
167 Feet (50.9 Meters)
Structure Length
846 Feet (257.9 Meters)
Roadway Width
23.6 Feet (7.19 Meters)
5 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

Bridge Status: Demolished and replaced in 2020.

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

View The Replacement Project Website

With a 1948 construction date, this is a relatively late example of a riveted truss bridge, however the bridge remains very important locally and regionally since it is the largest highway truss bridge in northwestern Ohio. A long, multi-span structure, the bridge is highly attractive because of its size. The bridge lacks v-lacing and lattice except for lattice under the top chord and end post on account of its large number of rolled beams versus  built-up beams, which does give it a more plain appearance than other older truss bridges which often had much more built-up beams than this bridge has. However, the bridge makes up for this because of its size, which makes driving across it a very enjoyable experience with a strong "tunnel effect" as it might be called. In addition, the elevation views of this bridge on a sunny day as pictured above are spectacular!

The bridge is built to a Ohio state standard bridge plan.

A major alteration occurred when this bridge's bracing was cut and reconfigured to increase vertical clearance on the bridge.

Although there is some concrete portions as well on the abutments, the overall substructure of this bridge is stone.

This bridge is at risk for demolition and replacement. Although a somewhat late example of its type, Ohio has very few surviving examples of state standard plan truss bridges. As the name implies, state standard trusses were the design of the state in which they were built, and the design details are therefore unique to that state. Therefore, if one state were to demolish all of its state standard truss bridges a historian could not look to other states to find identical design bridges. Therefore it is essential that Ohio preserve some of its state standard plans to prevent an loss of particular portion of transportation heritage.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory


The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural setting with scattered 20th century development. The town of Waterville is beyond the west end of the bridge. The prior truss bridge at this location collapsed in 1941 (see photo on old bridge card) [Shown to Right].

Physical Description

The 5-span, 846'-long, rivet-connected Parker thru truss bridge is traditionally composed of built-up chords. Some of the diagonals are rolled sections. There are cantilevered sidewalks. The bridge is supported on the ashlar piers and abutments of the prior bridge at this location. The old substructure was widened with concrete.


Deck replacement/repairs, 1988.

Summary of Significance

The 5-span, Parker thru truss bridge was built in 1948 by the state highway department. It is a late example of what was by 1948 a very common bridge type and design. The bridge is traditionally composed and exhibits no innovative or distinctive details. Because it is a common solution to a long-span crossing, neither the bridge nor its contexts are historically or technologically significant. It is representative of a bridge type and design as well as methods of fabrication that had been used for span lengths greater than 100' since the last quarter of the 19th century.

Camelback and Parker trusses are members of the Pratt-family of trusses with sloped top chords Technologically, Camelback and Parker trusses differ only in the number of top chord slopes (Camelbacks have exactly five slopes, and Parkers have more than five slopes.) The sloped-chord trusses provide the greatest depth at midspan where it is needed to accommodate the stresses, meaning that less material is needed in their construction as compared to a parallel chord truss of similar span, but fabrication is made more difficult due to the varying lengths of the members. The sloped-chord trusses are often associated with longer spans where the savings in material is great enough to be worth the additional fabrication costs. The practice of sloping the top chords dates to at least the 1840s and appeared early in the development of metal trusses. As with other truss designs, pin connections were used from the 1870s to 1900s, and mostly phased out during the 1910s. Rivet connections were being used by the early 1900s and were prevalent from the 1910s to 1940s. Standardized rivet-connected Camelback and Parker designs were used by many state highway departments, including the Ohio State Highway Department. There are 23 trusses (8 Camelback, 15 Parker) in the Ohio inventory (Phase 1A, 2008).

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


Photo Galleries and Videos: Waterville Bridge

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Maps and Links: Waterville Bridge

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

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