Covered Bridges

Designed and completed by James Barker, P.E. One of our areas of practice is the restoration and rehabilitation of covered bridges. We try to design our work to be historically accurate, while also striving to make improvements in a cost effective manner. We believe that a sincere respect for the original builders and their intentions is necessary — without which a successful restoration is impossible. We also believe in allowing vehicular traffic to pass through the rehabilitated bridge whenever practical; that restoring the function of a covered bridge restores its spirit, and is almost as important as preserving its appearance.We are available to work on such bridges throughout the eastern United States. Please contact us via phone or e-mail for answers to questions or inquiries about help we might provide.A list of our covered bridge repair and restoration experience follows. All of the projects were designed, and completed, by James A. Barker, P.E., with the exception (of course) of the current projects, which are not yet complete.

Cataract Falls Covered Bridge… Rehabilitation of Cataract Falls Covered Bridge, completed in 2004, across the Eel River in Lieber State Recreation Area, next to Cataract Falls, 10 miles north of Spencer, in Owen County, Indiana. This project rehabilitated a 140′ long, 16′ wide Smith Truss, built by the Smith Bridge Co. of Toledo, Ohio in 1876.

Cedar Chapel Covered Bridge… Another project to be constructed at Conner Prairie Museum is the relocation and rehabilitation of the Cedar Chapel Covered Bridge. Originally constructed in DeKalb County, Indiana over Cedar Creek, this bridge was moved to Conner Prairie in 1972. It will be re-located to be a part of the 1886 village that will soon be opened by the Museum.

Bell’s Ford Covered Bridge, Jackson County (See Recent Projects)

Forsythe Covered Bridge, Rush County… Rehabilitated in 2002 using Federal Aid Enhancement funding. This one span Burr arch bridge was built in 1888 by E.L.Kennedy. With a structural span of 186 feet, it is one of the longest single-span covered bridges. The restoration strengthened the bridge and increased its load limit to ten tons. Note the characteristic – even definitive – Kennedy portal adornments.

Potters Bridge, Hamilton County… Major reconstruction using Federal Enhancement funds. Completed in 1999, the project corrected rotted truss members, broken connections and other deterioration, replaced the roof and siding, and strengthened the deck without replacing deck planking. A fire alarm and sprinkler system were added to bridge. Project also included a 30 acre park around the bridge, with a playground, trails, parking, visitors center, and landscaping.

Adams Mill Bridge, Carroll County… Designed restoration using Federal Enhancement funds, completed in 1999. Project corrected severe decay of lower chord. Lower chord material was replaced and certain diagonal timbers were strengthened. Both abutments were reinforced to stop them from leaning inward. New roof and siding was installed.

Offuts Ford Bridge, Rush County… Designed repairs for the serious decay in several areas and the numerous broken connections. Also designed repairs for the abutments and installation of new siding. Conducted the construction observation. Major reconstruction after a fire nearly destroyed the structure. This project also used Federal Enhancement funds. Unique portal decoration was carefully replicated. Project won the Merit Award from Consulting Engineers of Indiana in 1997. Conducted the construction observation.

Duck Creek Aqueduct, Whitewater Canal State Historic Site in Metamora… Indiana Department of Natural Resources: Designed repairs to correct a severe lean of bridge, structural cracks in main timbers, strengthen arch-to-truss connections, and create reliable waterproof joints between suspended flume and abutments. This is the only covered bridge (aqueduct) in the world carrying a canal. Assisted DNR with construction inspection.

County Bridge #46 (Bushing Bridge), Ripley County… The entire bridge leaned downstream. Designed repairs to bring it back plumb and to keep it there. Designed repairs for broken floor beams and the lateral bracing. Other design elements were repairing the floor system, bearing seat timbers, the mudwalls, and install new siding. Conducted the construction observation.

Enochsburg Bridge, Franklin County… Designed major structural overhaul that raised the load limit from 3 tons to 10 tons, so that school buses could use it. Conducted the construction observation.

James Bridge, Jennings County… Truck struck truss and broke several truss members. Designed repairs and conducted the construction observation.

Moscow Bridge, Rush County… Designed repairs for the arch-rings and stiffening trusses that were seriously deteriorated. Some of the repairs included reinforcing the broken connections with steel rods and replacing sections of the arch-rings. The pier repairs were tuckpointing the stone work. Conducted the construction observation.

Williams Bridge, Lawrence County… Designed repairs for roof system that was blown off in a windstorm. Conducted the construction observation.

Scipio Bridge, Jennings County… Designed repairs that raised the load limit from 3 tons to 11 tons, so bridge could carry school buses. These repairs include strengthening the trusses, installing new floor beams and deck, and improving the road approaches. Conducted the construction observation.

County Bridge #94 (Smith Bridge), Rush County… Designed restoration to use Federal Enhancement funds. The advanced decay and fire damage resulted in major repairs. Designed repairs to replace sections of the lower chord and the diagonal timbers. Designed repairs for the replacement of the arch-rings ends and the repairs for the abutments. Designed a complete new floor system. All designs were to bring the structure up to a 12 ton load limit. Conducted the construction observation.

Norris Ford Bridge, Rush County… Designed repairs of decayed truss members and for the arch-ring decay. Conducted the construction observation. Designed repairs for the decayed lower chord connection and the decayed mudwall.

Snow Hill Bridge, Franklin County… Bridge had been closed to all traffic for 5 years. The design repairs strengthened the truss and floor system and it was opened with a 10 ton load limit. Conducted the construction observation.

Darlington Bridge, Montgomery County… Designed repairs that corrected advanced truss decay near the bearing seat areas. Also deigned repairs that eliminated the 9″ vertical sag. Conducted the construction observation.

County Bridge #81 (Otter Creek Bridge), Ripley County… Designed repairs for the replacement of corrugated metal siding with wood siding replicating the original construction. Designed repairs that corrected collision and insect damage to main trusses. Also designed repairs to replace the roof, correct the lean, and rebuild the mudwalls.

Many of the foregoing projects were designed by Mr. Barker while employed with another firm, prior to founding J.A. Barker Engineering in 1998. Mr. Barker was chief designer and Engineer-of-Record for each project.

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