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
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.