Best Bridge Preservation Example Part 1: Answer to the Pop Quiz

Photo taken in August 2010

After a week of mulling, here is the answer to the Pop Quiz that I presented in the entry from last Monday:

The quiz question was which 1879 King Bridge Company bowstring arch bridge located in Jones County was relocated along the Wapsipinicon River to its final destination at a state park in Anamosa.

The bridge was considered historically significant according to state and historical standards, yet it sustained damage due to floods in 1993 and in 2003, replacement was ordered by the county due to structural issues. Yet given its significant contribution to the county’s history, it was dismantled and placed to the side while the concrete replacement bridge was built in its place. Efforts to relocate the structure started right away by the county preservation commission, which followed by some help from donors and volunteers and by the state of Iowa and ended with an unexpected contribution by Allan King Sloan, who was doing some research on the family bridge building empire which built the bridge.

When funding was found, the next step was to relocate the bridge, one span at a time. Given the hilly and almost mountainous landscape Jones County offers, hauling the spans by truck was eliminated due to dangerous curves and the danger that the span could fall off and be destroyed in the process. The next alternative was to airlift it, using CH-47 Chinook helicopters to do the honors. The relocation process occurred on 8 March, 2006 and the spans were placed on newly built but historically appealing stone piers without any issues. The process was televised by many TV stations in the region and documented by the History Channel for its series “Mega Movers.”  Interesting enough, the bridge was delisted by the National Register of Historic Places when it was dismantled in 2003, but was relisted when the project was finished.

Any guesses on what the name of the bridge is?

Here it is:  The Hale Bridge.

There are a lot of features to see at Wapsipinicon State Park in Anamosa, Iowa, including a pair of stone arch bridges and a Pratt through truss bridge, but the tour of the park and its beautiful but rocky landscape would not be complete without a stop at the Hale Bridge, located on the east end of the park spanning the same river as it did at its original location. Beautifully renovated with new bolt connections, new flooring and a sleak black color, this bridge is a must-see for all history and bridge enthusiasts. It is one of the first bridges that was relocated in the air and definitely the longest in the state that was transported that way. The Hale Bridge set the precedent for other bridges to follow suit with talks of another bowstring arch bridge in Yell County possibly receiving the same treatment in the future.

Answer is the Hale Bridge, one the first to be relocated by air.  We will now move on to the next successful example of historic bridge presevation, which is……..

Author’s Note: Please click on the words highlighted in the text to access the videos and manuscripts on the move. Enjoy both of them.