Historic Covered Bridge Reopened

WOUB Contributing Writer

Updated Wed, May 29, 2013 9:13 am

The historic John Bright Number-Two Covered Bridge along the Lancaster City Bike Trail is open again to the public.

The span, owned by Ohio University at Lancaster, was damaged in an arson attack in January.

A spokesperson at OUL said the Interim Director of the physical plant has had a crew working on repairs since the incident and was able to complete most of the repairs over the holiday weekend and remove barricades.

But, the project isn’t finished.

“We spent the last couple of months removing the flooring and all the burned and damaged beams,” said Interim Physical Plant Director Mark Bateson.

“We replaced it with new wood.  While we were doing the work, some of our new wood was stolen.  So, we didn’t have enough to finish it all.  But there is an eight-foot wide section that is completed and is ok for use by the public.”

The fire was set at the intersection of structural members about mid-span.

Supports beneath the bridge were damaged, and there were two large holes in the bridge deck. 

Once the rest of the wood arrives, the work will be completed but Bateson said he doesn’t know when that will happen.

“The bridge is structurally sound now,” said Bateson.

“The city engineer signed off on it, and that is why we decided to go ahead an open up the bridge.”

The bridge is listed with the U.S. Parks Department on its Registry of Historic Places.

The bridge was built in 1881 by August Borneman.

It originally spanned Poplar Creek near Carroll, but was relocated to the Lancaster Campus for preservation. 

The bridge was moved to the Lancaster Campus in April, 1988. 

It features a rare reverse-bowstring style truss.