CT's Historic Masonry Arches

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East Haddam Bridge,
Bridge No. 1138

East Haddam Bridge

Route 82 over Connecticut River
East Haddam - Haddam
Steel swing truss
Length: 3 spans, 881' overall, 456' swing span
Built in 1913
Boller, Hodge & Baird, engineers
American Bridge Company, fabricator

East Haddam BridgeSpanning the Connecticut River near East Haddam's historic Goodspeed Opera House is a large pin-connected drawbridge designed by one of America's foremost bridge engineers. Alfred P. Boller (1840-1912) designed hundreds of large and complex bridges, including several New York City drawbridges and the first railroad bridge across the Thames River at New London. He was also considered the nation's leading authority on deep bridge foundations, an important consideration in a bridge crossing the Connecticut River. East Haddam BridgeThe East Haddam bridge incorporates numerous interesting technical features, including a center-bearing pivot and moving-wedge end lifts that support the ends of the bridge when closed. The large riveted Pennsylvania truss fixed span, at 326', is itself one of the longest trusses in the state. The piers and approach roadways were designed by supervising engineer Edward W. Bush, who had been engineer-in-charge on the Bulkeley Bridge project in Hartford.

East Haddam BridgeThe East Haddam Bridge was one of the first two bridges in Connecticut to be paid for directly by the state; the other was the 1911 Connecticut Bridge at the river's mouth in Saybrook, replaced in 1948 by the Baldwin Bridge. At the time, the State Highway Department had no authority over bridges, so the legislature formed special commissions to build these bridges. The East Haddam and Saybrook experience showed that such projects served a regional interest beyond the towns directly involved. The precedent set by these early state bridges led directly to legislation in 1915 that gave the State Highway Department responsibility for all trunk-line bridges in Connecticut.

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