On January 25th, the replacement Bartonsville covered bridge in Rockingham, VT opened to traffic for the first time since the original was swept away by Tropical Storm Irene’s floodwaters in 2011.
Designed by CHA, the $1.5 million, 168-foot long bridge closely resembles the 1870 original. It is the longest single-span covered bridge in the world supported by Town lattice trusses (named after architect Ithiel Town, who patented the design in 1820). The structure consists entirely of Southern pine and Douglas fir.
Project engineer Phil Pierce, PE, one of the country’s premier covered bridge designers, said the new bridge will last 150 years with proper care, more than double the life expectancy of a typical concrete and steel bridge. “It pays homage to the original,” he said, “but was built to more modern loading.”
The new bridge uses trusses with details similar to the destroyed bridge, but is lengthened and designed to accommodate modern traffic loads. Initial cost comparisons showed that a timber covered bridge was not much more expensive than a concrete and steel structure, which factored into the town’s decision to preserve history by reconstructing the bridge.
For more information about this historic project, contact designer Phil Pierce, PE at (518) 453-4500.