Ohio Bridge Update

Spring, 2017

Orient Bridge article:

More info and pictures by David Simmons on the bridge:

Orient Bridge Project

The Orient Bridge, crossing the Big Darby Creek at the junction of SR 762 and Big Darby Road near Harrisburg in Pickaway County, was bypassed in the 1980s.  Because of its historical significance and impressive visual elements, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) agreed to preserve the bridge in place and retain ownership.  Technically that also meant maintaining the bridge, at least minimally, but other priorities always intervened for their work crews

The bridge was part of the spring tour for OHBA in 2014.  Since being closed, trees had enveloped the bridge.  In fact, a cottonwood tree had germinated at the base of the western abutment, grown around the lower chord, and towered over the bridge’s western portal.  Numerous trees growing against and into the bridge also swallowed up the eastern end.

In April 2017, OHBA organized and financed a project to clear the trees from both ends of the bridge.  A crew from McCullough Tree Service performed the work on May 15 and 17.  The project received the cooperation of ODOT’s District 6 Office, Trapper Joe’s Canoe Livery, and the Pickaway Correctional Institution.  Articles highlighting the project appeared in the Columbus Dispatch and Dayton Daily News.

Seeing McCullough’s primary trimmer, Tracey Nethers, at work was like watching an acrobat high in the air.  He was highly skilled in climbing and supporting himself with rope rigging while handling any number of tools, including a chain saw.  His expertise and knowledge in the proper sequence for safely trimming a tree was immediately apparent.  Possessed of a deep historical appreciation, he considered it a privilege to work on a historic bridge.  Work began on the eastern end.  Shortly after starting, a honeybee comb and nest was discovered attached to the bottom of one of the onion finials.  Nethers worked carefully to preserve it.




Multiple trees had grown against the sides of the bridge.  Here Nethers had to use his rigging skills to the maximum effect.

Work resumed two days later on the western end.  This time, a canoe livery access allowed the crew to get their bucket truck in proper position.  Still, Nethers had to crawl onto the bridge and again use his rigging knowledge to remove the grape vines that had grown into the top chord.

The crew then focused on the trunk of the cottonwood, including the portion that had grown around the lower chord.


By mid-day of the second day, the bridge had been stripped of all its foliage.




Winter, 2016

A covered bridge scenic byway is featured in the March Ohio Magazine. See attached clipping.

Here’s a link to the Covered Bridge Scenic Byway page on the USDA’s website:

Fall, 2016

Hune Covered Bridge (35-84-27), Washington County

Graffiti marred this covered bridge.  The Ohio Department of Transportation is taking on a study to provide surveillance and fire protection for historic bridges supported by federal funded initiative.

Ballard Road Covered Bridge (35-29-18) Greene County

Construction is almost done with a few finishing touches to go.  Should be opened soon.

Foraker Covered Bridge (35-56-14), Monroe County

After receiving more than $200,000 in rehab work the Foraker Covered Bridge was reopened in October.

Spring, 2016

McClellan Bridge, Columbia County  (WG#35-15-02)

The 53 foot multiple kingpost will soon be under construction after the contract for repairs was awarded on March 2nd.

Roley Bridge, Fairfield County (WG#35-23-49)

On Saturday, April 4th high winds caused the collapse of the Roley School House Covered Bridge in Lancaster (WG#35-23-49).   The original bridge was built in 1899 over the Ohio Canal in Baltimore, Ohio.  The bridge was moved to Roley Road around 1914 until 1972 where it was moved to the Fairfield County Fairgrounds.

The bridge was dismantled and labeled, the plans are to rebuild the bridge over Fetter’s Run in Sensory Park where it will become part of the bike trail.


Roley School HouseRoley school bridge destroyed

Before photo by Janis Ford


 Roley school bridge destroyed2 roley school bridge destroyed3

After photos Leo Thimmes


Zeller-Smith Bridge, Fairfield County (WG#35-23-19)

The bridge located in Fairfield County’s Sycamore Park is closed so repairs can be made.  The City Engineer is evaluating whether temporary repairs will be made or permanent repairs will be made.

Ballard Road Bridge, Greene County (WG#35-29-18)

New roof and siding are planned for this 1883 bridge.

King’s Mill Bridge, Marion County (WG#35–51-21)

John Smolen designed this new 190 feet long bridge built on  St. James Road near Waldo, Ohio.  The bridge was opened at the dedication ceremony held on May 11th.

Foraker Bridge, Monroe County (WG#35-56-14)

The contract was awarded in April to repair the sag along with beams, bridge deck, chord members and paint on this 104 foot mutiple kingpost build in 1886.