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Berlin Street Bridge,
Bridge No. 4536
• Berlin Street over Coginchaug River (closed)
• Open-spandrel concrete arch
• Length: 55'
• Built in 1918
• Connecticut Highway Department, engineers
Now becoming overgrown with vegetation, Middletown's Berlin Street Bridge is the oldest example of open-spandrel concrete-arch construction in Connecticut and the first use of the technique by the staff of the State Highway Department. The bridge was bypassed by Route 72 in 1974. It retains its original arched-panel railing, a typical early 20th-century decorative treatment.
Open-spandrel concrete arches were most frequently used for exceptionally long or high crossings, where they offered significant savings over filled arches. By eliminating the spandrel wall and roadway fill, the design allowed the use of smaller footings and thinner arch rings. The design also had the advantage of a soaring, graceful appearance. The Berlin Street Bridge in Middletown is somewhat unusual because of its relatively small size and because it was built with a single arch barrel rather than separate ribs. After completing this prototype, the Highway Department went on to build several much larger open-spandrel projects in the 1920s and 1930s.