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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A covered bridge is a bridge, often single-lane, with enclosed sides and a roof. They have typically been wooden, although some newer ones are concrete or metal with glass sides. Especially associated with the nineteenth century, covered bridges often serve as prominent local landmarks and have long attracted the attention of historic preservationists.


Construction details
Early bridges were often made of wood, especially where it was a plentiful resource. Wooden bridges tended to deteriorate rapidly from exposure to the elements, having a useful lifespan of only nine years. Covering them protected their structural members, thus extending their life to 80 years or more. Covered bridges were also constructed to be used by travelers during storms and inclement weather.
Most wooden covered bridges employ trusses as their key structural design element. A popular design was the Brown truss, known for its simplicity, but others were also used.
Given the ready availability of steel, concrete, and other modern construction materials, most modern covered bridges are built either for the convenience of the user, rather than to protect the structure itself, or as a statement of style or design.

Covered bridges in Europe
The Western tradition of covered bridges originated in Central Europe.
Surviving or reconstructed European covered bridges include:
 Ponte Coperto over the Ticino river, Pavia, Italy , built 1354 (picture)
 Bridge over the Rhine river from Bad Säckingen, Germany, to Stein, Switzerland
 Bridge over the Muota river, Brunnen, near Lake Lucerne Switzerland (picture)
 Bridge over the Saane/Sarine river, near Fribourg, Switzerland (picture)
 Kapellbrücke, near Lucerne, Switzerland — 650-foot (200 m) long, originally built 1333; destroyed by fire 1993 and rebuilt
 Irgandı, in Osmangazi, Turkey 1367
 The Covered Bridge in Lovech, Bulgaria — built 1874
 Logic Lane covered bridge in Oxford, England — built 1904
 Pont de Rohan over The Elorn River in Landerneau, Brittany, France. built 16th 17th century.
Famous stone covered bridges include the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy which for long was one of only three over the Grand Canal and a popular tourist attraction.
The Bridges of Sighs in Venice, Cambridge and Oxford are also covered bridges.

Covered bridges in North America

Oregon has the largest number of historical covered bridges in the western United States.[1] They are also common in places such as Elizabethton, Tennessee, Lane County, Oregon, Madison County, Iowa, Parke County, Indiana, and Blount County, Alabama. Parts of California, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Virginia, West Virginia and the New England states also have surviving covered bridges.
There are various structural designs used for covered bridges, such as the Burr Truss.
Opened on July 4, 1901, the 1,282 foot (390 m) Hartland Bridge, crossing the Saint John River at Hartland, New Brunswick, is currently the longest covered bridge in the world. It is a national historic site. In 1900, New Brunswick had an estimated 400 covered bridges, and Quebec more than 1000, while Ontario had only 5. As of 2006, there were 94 covered bridges still standing in Quebec, 65 in New Brunswick and at least two in Ontario.
A much longer covered bridge (5,960 ft) between Columbia and Wrightsville, Pennsylvania once spanned the mile-wide Susquehanna River, making it the longest and most versatile covered bridge in the world during its existence. It featured railroad tracks, a towpath for canal boats crossing the river between two canals on either bank, and a carriage / wagon / pedestrian road. The popular toll bridge 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. A replacement wooden covered bridge was destroyed by a windstorm a few years later. It was rebuilt as an open-air steel bridge.
As of 2008, the longest existing covered bridge in the United States is the Smolen-Gulf Bridge spanning the Ashtabula River near Ashtabula. The town of Blenheim, New York has the longest single-span covered bridge in the world (232 ft), built in 1855. The bridge crosses the Schoharie Creek in the northern Catskills. It is one of only six "double-barreled" covered bridges still in existence in North America; that is, a bridge with two traffic lanes separated by a supporting truss. Other double-barreled examples exist in Vermont (2), Ohio (1), Indiana (1), and West Virginia (1).
Covered bridges are generally considered old-fashioned, and appeal to tourists, but the purpose is twofold: (1) covered bridges appear similar to barns and it is easier to transport cattle across them without startling them, and (2) 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. Some covered bridges, such as the one in Newton Falls, Ohio and Elizabethton, Tennessee, also feature an integrated covered walkway.

Covered bridges in Asia

In Asia, covered bridges are most prevalent in China, where they are called lángqiáo (廊桥). There are many covered bridges, called "wind and rain bridges" in the Chinese province of Guizhou. These were traditionally built by the Dong minority people. There are also many covered bridges in the Fujian province of southern China.[1]
Taishun County, in southern Zhejiang province near the border of Fujian, has more than 900 covered bridges, many of them hundreds of years old, as well as a covered bridge museum.[2] [3] There are also a number in nearby Qingyuan County, as well as in Shouning County, in northern Fujian province.
There is a well known covered bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam (in the Quang Nam Province of Vietnam's South Central Coast), called Chùa Cầu—the Japanese Bridge (illustrated in Gallery, below).

Modern covered bridges
employing the Burr Truss
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 in fiction
North American 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.
The fictional rural town portrayed in the 1988 film Beetlejuice features a covered bridge. It provides the early scene in which the protagonists (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) are killed when their car crashes through the wall of the bridge and plunges into the river below.
A covered bridge is featured in the 1999 film Sleepy Hollow, in a suspense-filled scene depicting an encounter between main character Ichabod Crane (played by Johnny Depp) and the main villain, The Headless Horseman (played by Christopher Walken).
A covered bridge is used for comic effect in the Jay Cronley novel (and Chevy Chase movie,) "Funny Farm," when a fully loaded delivery truck attempts to cross a rickety covered bridge.
In the early 20th century, covered bridges were sometimes nicknamed "kissing bridges", as the cover allowed seclusion for couples to kiss each other.

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Additional Photos by Tom O'Donnell (gunbud) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 5926 W: 8 N: 8034] (34066)
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