The Lost Bridges of Salt Fork Creek, Guilford, Indiana

The Lost Bridges of Salt Fork Creek, Guilford, Indiana

The Lost Bridges of Salt Fork Creek, Guilford, Indiana

Near the intersection of State Route 1 and Salt Fork Road is just a boring bridge that crosses Salt Fork Creek near Guilford, Indiana. However, today, we are going to talk about the two previous bridges and the former road alignment in this area.

Originally State Route 1 was known as State Route 56. In the 1800s a steel Pratt Pony Truss Bridge was built across Salt Creek. It featured stone bridge abutments, weighed about 2 tons and had a wooden plank floor.

When the Ohio River floods, it backs up Salt Fork Creek which flows into Tanners Creek Which flows into the Ohio River. Up until 1941 this state route had a lower elevation and the roadway would be covered in water blocking an escape passage for residents near the river. In the floods of 1884 and 1937 Salt Fork Creek was backed up to a point that the water was completely over the top of the pony truss bridge.

In 1941 the pony truss bridge was removed and This Warren Deck Truss Bridge was constructed by Steinkamp Construction Company of Batesville, Indiana at a cost of $47,288.40. The Warren Deck Bridge was built as part of a raising and regrading project of the roadway after the 1937 Flood as a way to ensure safe passage during floods. The bottom Chord of the new bridge was 15 feet higher than the deck of the previous bridge and about 7 feet higher than the crest of the 1884 flood.

The truss portion of the bridge was 180 feet long with concrete approach slabs on each end bringing the total bridge length to 418 feet.

The bridge supports were anchored on concrete piers positioned behind the previous bridges stone abutments which were left standing to aid in soil stability and prevent the bank from washing away. When the bridge was built the route was regraded and realigned as it bypassed several other bridges sitting at lower elevations and the roadway was moved west about 100 feet from the former Jacob Blasdel House shown here. However, if you look closely, you can still see the old road grade to this day.

The Warren Deck Truss bridge was removed and replaced in 2012 with the current bridge.

GPS Location: 39º09’17.2″N 84º52’40.3″W