Present at Meeting:
The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the inspection findings and rehabilitation recommendations for the Cooley Covered Bridge prepared by Lichtenstein Consulting Engineers, Inc.
There was a lot of discussion relative to the distribution beams and whether or not their contribution is valuable when considering their added dead load. It was questioned whether they are really necessary if the floor system is adequately designed. The value of runner planks in distributing load was discussed as well. Jim O'Gorman, representing the Town of Pittsford, relayed that they were seeing problems on their covered bridges with drivers going off the running boards, panicking and subsequently causing damage to the structures. Warren Tripp suggested adding curbing inside the trusses to protect them while keeping the runner planks. Eric Gilbertson asked whether if the curbing was increased in size, perhaps 12" x 12", and fastened down properly, could it essentially act as distribution beams. It was felt that it could.
There was also discussion relative to the trusses. It is felt that they are quite strong in design and perhaps some rot in the members could be tolerated because of this and the fact that application of a fungicide/insecticide is suggested. J. B. McCarthy shared that there is a new preservative treatment being tested by the Forest Products Laboratory, which may be appropriate for use on this bridge. Further information on this will be sent to the Town for their consideration. It was suggested that treated wood be used for the bearing blocks and steel-backed timber guardrail be utilized on the approaches. Finally, it was suggested that compressed air methods be used for cleaning rather than water.
Going through the rehabilitation recommendations of Lichtenstein Consulting Engineers:
It is requested that the consultant consider removal of the distribution beams underneath the structure and add curbing inside the structure. Also, the unique cross-bracing shown in Photo 8 should be retained.
It was evident and appreciated that the consultant developed their recommendations considering the Priority of Uses and Treatments outlined in the Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Plan. The structure's use category is (A) Special Use on Roads and the proposed treatments fall within Treatments 1, 2 and 3. The committee requests that the consultant proceed with development of Preliminary Plans, considering the content of these meeting minutes.
[This article was originally posted February 21, 2002]