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Feature Article on bridges. Topic: LANDMARKS
By Jim Sayre in October, 1999

Old Bridges Fading Fast

An important part of building roads in Shelby County, Ohio was the construction and maintenance of bridges, of which there are about 300 that are 10 feet or longer in the county today. Some of the county bridges, built as early as the 1870’s, were of the iron truss type, fast disappearing in the county, with just 24 left in 1999.

These 24 are high on the county engineer's "hit list" and will be replaced by modern bridges, according to Bob Geuy, interim county engineer (speech, Agricultural Luncheon, July 8, 1999). "It's just too costly to bring them up to legal load standards. Economics is against them," he said.

The county commissioners in 1871 awarded a contract for building a "Howe truss bridge across Plum Creek, near Jacob Harmon, at $8.60 per foot" (Sidney Journal, Nov. 24, 1871). County engineer Bob Geuy estimates new bridges today at $80 to $120 per square foot, depending upon the type of bridge.

The truss bridges were once considered models for other bridge-building counties, according to this 1871 account:  "The new iron bridge across the Miami river, below Sidney, is nearly finished, and does credit to the contractor, E.M. Greene. It is a large and substantial bridge, and will be regarded as a fine county improvement.

"Two of the Miami county Commissioners were in Sidney on Wednesday for the purpose of seeing some of the iron bridges recently put up in this county. Iron bridges are getting to be the favorite bridges in this part of the country, and the Commissioners of Miami are favorably disposed toward trying some of them in their county. They expressed themselves highly pleased with the iron bridge crossing the Miami river, below Sidney, which is a model of its kind" (Sidney Journal, Aug. 11, 1871).


Photo of bridge just south of Big Four, crossing the Miami River south of Sidney.  This smaller bridge is no longer open to traffic.  Photo by Larry Roettger.  




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