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Roddy Road Covered Bridge #1

Frededick MD-10-02 #1x Owens Creek KP 1 40' 1856 2016
Roddy Road Bridge 1998At a length of just under forty feet, little Roddy Road Bridge #1 was the shortest covered bridge in Maryland for many years until it was replaced by a replica bridge in 2017, so the existing Roddy Road Bridge #2 is now the shortest in the state. The first bridge as well as the second bridge are also the only recent bridges in Maryland to have a kingpost truss.
The builder and year of construction for Roddy Road Bridge #1 are unknown. Most historians set the build date as c1850, about the same time as Loys Station and Utica Mills Covered Bridges. But some also suggest the build date was actually 1856. It is common belief that Confederate General JEB Stuart and his calvary crossed Roddy Road Covered Bridge on July 5, 1863 during the Gettsyburg campaign of the Civil War. There are no records indicating any battles took place at or near the bridge.
Steel beams were added under Roddy Road's flooring for support sometime in the early 1930s and were twice been replaced due to corrosion. Steel beams were first replaced during the 1979-80 rehabilitation. New wingwalls were also put in place. Unfortunately, errors were made while repairing the bridge in 1980 by setting the four corner posts in concrete. The result was trapped moisture at the base of the posts and the end of the bottom chords causing the wood to rot. In March of 1992 an oversized truck damaged the bridge's roof and truss closing it to traffic. Repairs were done through the help and effort of many volunteers and the bridge was able to reopen in October of the same year. A local company, Heavy Timber Construction owned by Dean Fitzgerald was instrumental in the bridge's repair effort and donated much of the needed material. The bridge was repainted to original historical standards in May of 1993. Later in 1993 concerned citizens and Fitzgerald pressured Frederick County Highways to upgrade the four corners of the bridge to prevent further decay and to replace the badly corroding stringers. In 1994-95 Roddy Road bridge underwent extensive repairs including replacing the rotted material and cutting back the wingwalls to allow for air circulation and drainage around the base. Nine new steel I-beams were installed for support. Roddy Road was reopened on July 15, 1995.
In 2011 The National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program awarded a $176,400 grant to Frederick County for repairs to Utica Mills, Roddy Road and Loys Station bridges. Frederick County kicked in another $44,100 to bring the total funding amount to $220,500. The contract to repair the bridges was awarded to Kingsley Construction, Inc.
Work began to rehabilitate Roddy Road Bridge #1 in June of 2015 and included interior fire retardant, exterior paint, fire alram system, 190 feet of timber guard rail along Roddy Creek Road, and toe wall for scour protection at the north abutment.
An oversized truck damaged Roddy Road Bridge #1 on May 18, 2016. Damage to the portal boards were quickly repaired. Another oversized truck heavily damaged the bridge only one month later on June 16, 2016. This time the damage was extensive. In addition to ripping off the portal board and breaking roof braces, a lot of the wood was twisted. Dean Fitzgerald of Heavy Timber Construction dismantled the bridge in October of 2016 to examine the heavy timber pieces for possible reuse. It was determined the timber was not reusable so all new timber was used to rebuild a replica bridge. Construction of Roddy Road Bridge #2 was completed in April of 2017.
For more information about Roddy Road Bridge #1, and Roddy Road Bridge #2 including photos of both bridges, please go to Roddy Road Covered Bridge. Click on the photo gallery to see more photos of the bridges. For directions to Roddy Road Bridge go to Driving Tour.

Roddy Road 1946 Roddy Road 2003
Roddy Road Bridge, 1946. Roddy Road Bridge, 2003.

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