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calendar   Friday - March 28, 2014

A Nice New Erection

And a decent size one too, considering that it’s white!

A Bridge Grows In Hunterdon

The new White Bridge Road bridge over in Franklin Township is nearly finished. The old one, an iron truss built in 1886, was a beat up, rotten hulk that not even massive life support could save. So after years worth of designing, funds finding, neighborhood bickering, and a slew of not always sympathetic press, last summer the old bridge went away. And work began on the new one, from the water’s edge on up. New foundations, new abutments, and a new drainage system went in. The pre-fabricated trusses were ordered ... and then winter set in early, and work came to a halt. With nearly all the snow gone by early March, the trusses were delivered and dropped in place with a crane. After that all the beams, stringers, guard rails, feet, straps, and now the deck plating went in. It’s nearly done, save for laying on some asphalt, hooking in some new guard rail, and repaving the road on both ends. And (drum roll please) I’m pretty sure that it’s a real truss bridge. The lower chords are not so massive that they could carry the entire weight themselves. No, the truss is actually doing its job. And the trusses are big enough, just barely, for a road that wide. And that’s a good thing. Because we love our old bridges here in Hunterdon County, and sometimes this has lead to cost saving designs where the new bridge is actually a simple girder span, but with a pretend truss stuck on top, to “make it look right”. Hey, we derive a lot of income around here based on our country quaintness, so it behooves us to pay attention and do things like this project properly.

Click any of the pictures for a much larger version.


image
View from the West end, showing the 16’ skew. Skew means the sides are offset from each other; from above the bridge is a polygon, not a rectangle.

image
View from the East end. Note moderate sized lower chords and beams.

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A nice view of the lattices and a peak underneath.

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Detail view of lattices, decking, guard rails, two piece lower chord



I thought at first they had actually put this together with rivets, but all those bumps are actually nuts and bolts. Which are stronger than rivets, and easier to maintain. You betcha, they’ve built a white bridge on White Bridge Road (when the county painted the old bridge green once, the neighborhood turned up in the middle of the night with gallons of white paint and “fixed” that error!); it’s a real truss bridge ( an alternating verticals Warren pony truss using gusset plates instead of pinned sections ), and it has some actual lattice in it. Lattice - also sometimes called lacing - is the criss-cross strapping used to connect one smaller bit of beam to another one, to make a bigger, stronger beam while using less steel. Back in the day when steel was expensive and labor cheap, metal bridges were made almost entirely of latticed bits. This one has a few real lattices, where the beam is built from two lesser pieces, and several false ones, where a big solid beam was used, and lattice was just tacked on later for show. Both are easy to spot in the last picture.

The new bridge is two generous lanes wide, and I’m sure that it will be rated at at least 30 tons. Which means emergency vehicles can now cross the bridge when necessary, instead of having to drive 5 miles around the other way. Unfortunately, heavy trucks will now be able to cross as well, which is why the neighborhood wanted to keep the dilapidated old bridge. Because nobody wants their quiet street of expensive antique rural homes turning into a shortcut to the highway for big rigs at all hours of the day and night. Although I doubt that would happen here anyway, given that White Bridge Road is sort of off in a quiet corner to begin with.

So there you have it: a brand new modern bridge, built to look like it was made 90 years ago. And I’m sure it will get a nice power washing before the opening ceremony, which ought to be pretty soon.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/28/2014 at 04:29 PM   
Filed Under: • Bridges •  
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