Seth Kelley worked on this covered bridge as a sub-contractor for Jan Lewandoski in 2001. A hurricane had destroyed the original bridge during the 1930’s. The state had replaced the bridge with one built of concrete. The concrete bridge began to crumble and fail in less than 65 years. The town opted to rebuild the covered bridge.
The bridge is a Town Lattice Truss spanning eighty feet over the Ottauquechee River. Some of the features of the original bridge were changed in the new bridge, most notably, the engineer specified natural ships knees from Maine be used in place of knee braces. Ships knees are usually cut from the base of spruce trees where the trunk creates a natural buttress. Milled carefully, ships knees provide stable bracing that offer greater clearance for vehicles passing through the bridge. Although most of the ships knees in this bridge came from Maine, the project required a few additional knees. Seth and Jan selected appropriate trees from Jan’s property and hewed out the additional ships knees. Each of the knees were scribed in place. Oak sheer keys were added and finally the knees were bolted to the truss and tie beams. Seth and Michael Cotroneo spent may hot July days drilling and sledgehammering two inch diameter pegs into the lattice truss. With all of the pegs in place, a crane was used to lift the trusses. When the trusses were plumbed, four inch thick hardwood decking was added along with the board and baton siding. The Bridge was rolled across I beams and lowered down to rest on white oak bearing timbers on the new abutments. The remaining siding work was then finished and a wooden curb was added to the interior of the bridge before opening it for public use. If you ever find yourself in North Harland, be sure to visit the bridge. It is a rare opportunity to go through two covered bridges back to back.
Reprinted from Knobb Hill Joinery, with permission.