Preservation, Road Trips

The last drivable National Road S bridge closed due to heavy trucks

You can’t drive over any of Ohio’s historic National Road S bridges anymore.

The last S bridge still open to traffic crossed Salt Fork about four miles east of Old Washington in eastern Ohio’s Guernsey County.

Salt Fork S Bridge

A natural-gas boom in the area has brought an increase in heavy-truck traffic. Many drivers have been ignoring the posted 3-ton limit on this bridge.

Salt Fork S Bridge

Wishing to keep these trucks from damaging this already deteriorated bridge, members of the Ohio National Road Association approached the Guernsey County Commissioners last Wednesday asking that the bridge be closed. The commissioners moved swiftly, passing a resolution that afternoon and erecting barriers the next day.

Salt Fork S Bridge

This S bridge was built in about 1828 and is one of four complete S bridges still standing on Ohio’s portion of the National Road. (See the other three here and here.) One S bridge also stands on the National Road in Pennsylvania; see it here. All of them are closed to traffic. S bridges were built to allow a road to cross a river or stream at a right angle, which made the bridges less expensive to build and maintain.

There are discussions in Guernsey County about restoring the bridge and making the site into a park.

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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Last updated on 26 March 2020 by Jim Grey

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