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SMOLEN-GULF BRIDGE

The Longest Covered Bridge in the United States

The bridge is located on State Road (County Road #25) in Plymouth and Ashtabula Townships and was dedicated on August 26, 2008.

Planning for the project began in 1995 when the annual bridge inspection showed severe deterioration of the existing iron bridge. John Smolen, then the Ashtabula County Engineer, was very concerned about improving the road alignment as well as the replacement of the deficient bridge. Preliminary engineering of the road realignment left a 600 foot gap to be spanned. Application was made for Federal funds allocated for bridges and in 2000 the County was awarded the amount of $5 million. From 2001 through 2005 plans and specifications were developed, environmental studies and documents were prepared, additional road rights-of-way were secured, and wetland mitigation was completed. The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer permits were obtained.

Construction began mid-summer of 2006 with land clearing and earthen work. From August 2006 to July 2007, 171,000 cubic yards of earth were moved into place to provide the roadway to the new structure. The bridge piers and abutments comprised 7,000,000 pounds of concrete and nearly on-half million pounds of steel were used for reinforcement. The timber structure used 51,000 cubic feet of lumber or 613,000 board feet. This was enough wood to cover an entire football field to a thickness of 13 inches. Ashtabula County Highway Department crews constructed the block retaining wall, performed seeding and mulching, and installed storm drainage and various other construction components.

The bridge is of Pratt Truss construction. The stain used on the bridge is called Olympus Green. There is a five foot wide covered walkway on each side of the bridge. The bridge is the longest covered bridge in the United States at 613 feet. It boasts a clear width of 30’ and a clear height of 14’6”. It stands 93’ above the Ashtabula River. The bridge will support full legal loads, including 80,000 pound tractor-trailer traffic and has a life expectancy of over 100 years.

The engineering and structural design was performed by John Smolen, former County Engineer and the architectural design was done by Timothy Martin, current Ashtabula County Engineer.

You can watch a Youtube video of the construction by clicking here







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