This bridge is a Whipple truss bridge, also known as the double-intersection Pratt truss. There are sixteen panels composing the bridge. The structure features pinned connections, and forms the centerpiece for the Aurora downtown area. It is nice to see a bridge being left standing for its aesthetic and historic value, and to bring interest to the downtown area of a small town. There is lattice on the sway bracing and v-lacing on the vertical members. The vertical members are unusual in that the channels that make up the built-up beams are they themselves built-up of plates and angles.
This bridge has undergone some major renovations that have allowed this beautiful structure to remain in use, at the expense of some historic integrity. Steel was welded onto the portal bracing, and the bottom chord was severed and reconnected with unusual turnbuckles. The flooring system was completely replaced, including the floor beams themselves. These were replaced with large beams that allowed pipes to be carried on one side, and a sidewalk to be added to the other. These losses to the historic integrity of the structure are rather dramatic, but on the other hand the bridge remains in use and remains a beautiful historic bridge.
The plaque on this bridge is mostly gone in a sense. The unusual plaque was made of a plate base, with the words fastened onto it. These words have since mostly fallen off.
In 2010, a high quality rehabilitation of this bridge was designed. Among the aspects of the work is the requirement that failed rivets be replaced with genuine hot-metal driven rivets, just like the bridge received when built in 1887. Typical highway rehabilitation projects replace failed rivets with historically incorrect modern high strength tension control bolts. Not only do these bolts look ugly (they lack a smooth heads on each end) they are alterations that diminish the historic integrity of the bridge. They are used because of the false believe that due to AASHTO and other regulations, the use of rivets in rehabilitation projects for bridges to carry vehicular traffic is forbidden. This is clearly not true, as the George Street Bridge proves.
Aside from other appropriate structural repairs, the project is also noteworthy because it will restore the damaged plaques to their original condition, rendering them both beautiful and legible.
This project was designed by J. A. Barker Engineering. HistoricBridges.org recommends this firm for any metal truss bridge rehabilitation project. Not only is the firm skilled in designing a project that will not reduce the historic integrity of the bridge, the project will be high quality so as to give a long service life, and will also be more cost effective than a firm that is inexperienced with historic bridges will offer.
Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey
Statement of Significance
Having replaced a wooden truss, this is the Forge Bridge Company's only extant structure in Indiana. The George St. Bridge carried US Highway 50 until 1950 and SR 56 until 1972, connecting Aurora's southside with
its downtown. The structure retains most of its original members including its decoratively latticed portals and some of its latticed guardrail.
The Forge Bridge Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, fabricated this unusual two-span 258'7" structure. The main span is a double-intersection Pratt (Whipple) through truss of 199'4", divided into sixteen panels with
intermediate verticals fabricated from angles riveted to plates and laced together. Cylindrical eyebars with turnbuckles serve two major functions: first; as a system to connect and stabilize the verticals at the horizontal
midpoint; second, as the central diagonals. A 56'3" Pratt deck truss of five panels approaches the Whipple from the east. With verticals composed of channels connected with stay plates and diagonals of rods with turnbuckles, the
approach span--like the main span--carries a steel grid deck with a 21'6" roadway and a sidewalk supported by girder floor beams U-bolted to pins.
ALTERATIONS: Some guardrails missing. The steel grid deck replaced a wooden block deck in 1950. There is severe deterioration of the structural members of the deck truss.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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