Wednesday, April 30, 2003

County seeks to preserve rare bridge



By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CROSBY TOWNSHIP - A 125-year-old abandoned bridge here could get a new life in a township park if Hamilton County receives a grant to refurbish it.

The wrought iron bridge is a rare surviving example of a bowstring truss design, township and county officials say.

"Because there are so very few of these bowstring truss bridges left in the United States, let alone Ohio, it is something that should be preserved," Crosby Township Trustee Jane Harper said. "It is a very beautiful bridge. The metalwork in it is just fantastic."

The span crosses Howard Creek north of New Haven, but road and bridge have been abandoned for half a century, locals estimate. The bridge is about 70 feet long, and the arches are in a low rainbow shape.

The floor is rotted out, but county Bridge Engineer Steve Mary said the metal has only some surface rust.

Once renovated, the bridge could be left where it is, but Harper said it's likelier that it will be moved to the 13-acre site of Crosby Township's senior center, at 8910 Willey Road. The trustees have applied for a grant to build a hike and bike trail there, and the bridge could be used by pedestrians.

The county expects the bridge's restoration to cost $150,000, and it is applying for federal money to pay 80 percent of that. A decision is expected by the end of the summer, Mary said.

"We think it's a very worthwhile project," he said.

The bridge was built by the Massillon Bridge Co. about 1875, according to Historic Inventory of Hamilton County, published in 1991 by the Miami Purchase Association for Historic Preservation (now the Cincinnati Preservation Association).

E-mail candrews@enquirer.com




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