This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A single span Warren deck truss

The Newton County Interim Report, a publication that inventories the historical structures of Newton County, lists a bridge south of Lake Village as a outstanding structure, and because I was passing by recently, I stopped and took a look. I was surprised to find a plaque:
The Conrad Bridge
A single span Warren Deck Truss built by the Elkhart Bridge & Iron Company in 1916 with a clear span of 80 ft.
Entered on the state register of historic places April 26, 1999
Restored 2003
Commissioners: Russell C. Collins, Jr., President
James C. Pistello, Vice President
Matthew V. Gibson
County Auditor: Patricia L. Carlson
Engineer: Beam, Longest & Neff L.L.C.
Contractor: Wirtz & Yates Inc

 What makes the bridge unusual is that the trusses are below the bridge. This is fairly common on railroad bridges, but apparently not on bridges for automobiles.
There is a parking pull-off just west of the bridge so you can stop and take a closer look.

The bridge spans a stream that has quite a bit of water in it. It may be the ditch that was used to drain the old Beaver Lake and the wetlands around it--I do not know enough about the area to be sure. If you go all the way under the bridge and look up, you will realize that the decking on the bridge is wood.

You can also learn that by going up on the bridge and looking at it. It is a wooden bridge, or at least partly a wooden bridge.
I am impressed that the local government in Newton County preserved this structure rather than tearing it down and replacing it with a bland concrete-slab bridge.

North of CR 700N lies the Conrad Savanna, a nature preserve run by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. I have not explored this preserve, though it sounds interesting.  The area south of the road has No-Trespassing signs on it.

(Conrad Savanna is not to be confused with Conrad Station, run by the Nature Conservancy and east of US 41. The Conrad Station preserve has an interesting treasure in it that will be the subject of another post. The bridge mentioned in the link is our bridge described in this post.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is an attractive bridge.