100+ Year Old Historic Bridge Replaced and Relocated to Better Serve the Community
LaBella was selected by Wyoming County for this locally administered federal aid (LAFA) project on the Pratt Thru-Truss Bridge over Cayuga Creek on Schoellkopf Road in the Town of Bennington. Work was needed on this historic iron pin-connected bridge to provide a crossing sufficient for snowplows, fire trucks, ambulances, and school buses. The bridge’s rural setting was causing strain between multiple departments in multiple towns because of its exclusion from emergency response routes. Additionally, the 100+ year old bridge was requiring maintenance of increasing frequency and magnitude to address metal deterioration.
It was determined the bridge could not be rehabilitated to address the crossing concerns at this location and new a bridge structure would be needed. A Memorandum of Agreement was developed between the Federal Highway Administration, New York’s State Historic Preservation Office, the New York State Department of Transportation, and Wyoming County to rehabilitate the bridge and move its location to provide County Fair access over Wiscoy Creek in the Town of Pike.
Town of Bennington officials and the community expressed a desire to use a covered timber structure for the replacement bridge, and the preferred alternative for the Schoellkopf Road site was a 114’-9” single-span, single-lane covered timber truss bridge. The Town once boasted of having six covered bridges spanning the Cayuga Creek. The last of the six was destroyed by fire in 1966 and was the last structure of its kind that existed in New York State west of the Finger Lakes.
This site is well suited for the use of a covered timber bridge and the elevated roadway alignment provides more than adequate hydraulic clearance. The rural setting highlights the aesthetic beauty of covered timber bridges and provides the opportunity for individuals to experience a covered timber bridge without traveling outside of the region. The lower traffic volumes allow for a single-lane bridge that will function well into the future.
The new covered bridge has a rail-to-rail width of 16 feet and a vertical clearance of
15’-4”. The project had been scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2021; however, due to material and fabrication labor issues associated with Covid-19, the project was completed in May 2022.
On June 9, 2022, the new covered bridge in Wyoming County was named and dedicated in the memory of Sergeant Charles Cannon, who served in the U.S. Army’s 35th Engineering Battalion building roads and bridges and was killed in action in December 1945 in Europe. Sergeant Cannon grew up approximately three miles downstream of the bridge in a house on the banks of the Cayuga Creek in Cowlesville.