The Un-Covered Bridge

Have you ever seen a covered bridge without its roof (its cover)? How about without its joists, floor beams, deck and everything but the arch? How about this scenario with the other span (the other half) of the bridge intact?

It doesn’t sound like a common sight, and it’s not. However, you can see such an “un-covered” bridge in Woodstock, Vermont. Stop by the Taftsville Covered Bridge on Route 4.

The Taftsville Covered Bridge, as seen from VT Route 4.

The Taftsville Covered Bridge was damaged during the floods of Tropical Storm Irene on August 28, 2011. What you cannot see from this picture is the failing stone abutment. Due to structural and safety concerns, the bridge was closed to traffic and then pedestrians soon after the August flooding. Unfortunately, the abutment continued to show signs of stress and failure, to the extent that it would have to be replaced.

Closed to traffic, but you can park off Route 4 and take a look (just don't cross any barriers or fences).

Because this particular site poses many obstacles (nearby buildings and power lines), but required immediate action in order to save the bridge, the Vermont Agency of Transportation made the decision to dismantle one span of the two-span bridge. This allows temporary reinforcing to be installed, prevents the bridge from being completely dismantled, and allows the abutments and pier to support the remaining weight of the bridge. For further stabilization, the abutment is supported with newly poured concrete (you’d have to catch a glimpse of that from the Quechee side of the bridge).

The central pier between the two spans. Only the arch remains.

Close-up view showing reinforcements installed (see new cables).

Additional reinforcements. The failed abutment (not shown) would be located on the bottom right of this image.

Looking east.

Looking northwest.

The Taftsville Covered Bridge, constructed in 1836, is one of the oldest covered bridges in the State of Vermont.  Originally constructed as a multiple king-post truss, the burr arches (the exposed arch you can see in the photograph) were added in the early 20th century. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and documented for the Historic American Engineering Record.

9 thoughts on “The Un-Covered Bridge

  1. Mark J says:

    That’s really great to see, thanks for sharing. From reading your summary, they intend to keep it, right (rebuild it)?

    • Kaitlin says:

      Yes, the bridge will be restored. Actually, prior to Irene, project plans were underway for its restoration. It had to be stabilized in the meantime to prevent destruction.

  2. Bill Smith says:

    I just heard today that the bridge is open. Thanks for the pictures.
    I crossed this bridge many times as a youth to visit my Aunt who lived on the other side.

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