Covered bridge

From Academic Kids

A covered bridge is a bridge with enclosed sides and a roof. They are often single-lane bridges. The bridges are frequently made out of wood. Newer ones are frequently made out of concrete or metal with glass sides.

Covered bridge near Manchester, New Hampshire, c. 1880
Covered bridge near Manchester, New Hampshire, c. 1880

Such bridges are found in rural areas throughout the United States and Canada, but are often threatened by arsonists, vandals, and flooding. They are also common around eastern Canada and in the United States in places such as Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Lane County, Oregon, Madison County, Iowa and Parke County, Indiana. Parts of Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and the New England states also have surviving covered bridges.

Famous covered bridges include the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy which is one of only three over the Canal Grande and a popular tourist attraction. Opened on July 4, 1901, the 1,282 foot (390 meter) covered bridge crossing the St. John River at Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada, is currently the longest covered bridge in the world. It is a Canadian National Historic Site.

A much longer covered bridge (5,960 feet) between Columbia and Wrightsville, Pennsylvania once spanned the mile-wide Susquehanna River, but it was burned June 28, 1863 by Union militia during the American Civil War to prevent its usage by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the Gettysburg Campaign.

In 1900, New Brunswick had an estimated 400 covered bridges, and Quebec more than 1000, while Ontario had only had 5. There are a lot of covered bridges, called "Wind and Rain Bridges" in the Chinese province of Guizhou. These were traditionally built by the Dong minority people.

Covered bridges are generally considered old-fashioned, and appeal to tourists, but the purpose is simple: to build a structure for weather protection over the working part of the bridge. A bridge built entirely out of wood, without any protective coating, may last 10 to 15 years. Builders discovered that if the bridge’s underpinnings were protected with a roof, the bridge could stand for 70, or even 80 years. The existing covered bridges have been renovated using concrete footings and steel trusses to hold additional weight and to replace the original support timbers.

Missing image
Green River covered bridge in Guilford, Vermont
Missing image
Plank-lattice Truss interior structure of Green River covered bridge in Guilford, Vermont

Modern covered bridges are usually for pedestrians, for example to walk from one part of an office building to another part, to cross railway tracks at a station, or in a shopping center on an elevated level, crossing a road. See also skyway. Glass-walled covered bridges are rather common at American airports, and some of those bridges can be found at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. Also, some highway bridges, such as the George Washington Bridge, have lower decks for additional capacity, and those decks, while generally open on the sides, can be enclosed with plastic from time to time during construction, thus rendering the lower decks as partially covered bridges.

Covered bridges received much recognition as a result of the success of the novel, The Bridges of Madison County written by Robert James Waller and made into a Hollywood motion picture starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.

See also

External links

Dong Minority Bridge, Chenyang, Guizhou, China. (2004-08-16)
Dong Minority Bridge, Chenyang, Guizhou, China. (2004-08-16)

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