The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Covered bridge series

April 25, 2009

Kelloggsville siblings

One succumbed, one survived from this Potter family duo


The Root Road bridge has been assigned the number 35-04-09.

Although this bridge fared better against progress than its twin, by the early 1960s it was in danger of collapse because of weather and time. The bridge was listing to the south, and guide wires were attached to the structure and weight limits imposed to stabilize the bridge.

It survived another 20 years with these stopgap measures before undergoing extensive renovation in 1982-83. County Engineer John Smolen cleverly strengthened it by building a bridge within the bridge, using large laminated wood girders. This allowed the bridge to carry heavier loads with a minimal investment of labor: It is easier to install the girders from within rather than from below the bridge. The approach also provides the engineer with the ability to remove any sag in the structure.

The downside of reinforcing a bridge like this is the loss of lateral clearance, which can make for a tight squeeze. If purists at some point in the future feel the bridge ought to be returned to its original configuration, removing the laminated girders from inside the bridge is possible.

While these girders also could go underneath the bridge, on spans like Root Road, which is fairly close to the water’s surface, the loss of floodwater clearance would be an issue.

The project also involved raising the bridge 18 inches, constructing one new concrete abutment and adding a new concrete pier at mid-span. The bridge received new siding, guardrail, and floor beams and flooring.

The new floor beams, attached to the girders, provide additional support to the bridge as they are under the intermediate chords.

The Root Road bridge is treasured by residents of Monroe Township. Every fall the grounds are spruced up and bridge decorated by members of the Kelloggsville Heritage Committee, which sells souvenirs and food at the bridge during the Covered Bridge Festival.

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