Bridges & Dams

Bridges & Dams

AHS has documented thousands of bridges, and completed statewide surveys of historic highway bridges for Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont. In each case, we inventoried trusses, stone arches, and concrete arches, and evaluated them for their engineering and historical significance. We also prepared management plans to guide highway officials for historic bridge projects. Three publications resulted from these surveys: Historic Highway Bridges of Rhode Island, Connecticut’s Historic Highway Bridges, and Where Water Meets Land: Connecticut’s Historic Movable Bridges.

AHS has developed websites on historic bridges, open-spandrel bridges, and the Berlin Iron Bridge Company. 

Historic dams are another area of AHS expertise. We have recorded every type, from small stone dams to complex impoundment and water-control structures. Documentation of historic dams has become more important, as old dams are increasingly breached to restore rivers to more natural free flows.

We also advise on the historically sympathetic rehabilitation of historic bridges and dams, ensuring that they remain safe while retaining historic character-defining features. 

Bridges

Featured Project

Town Bridge Road

AHS prepared the National Register of Historic Places nomination of several metal-truss bridges constructed by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company of East Berlin, Connecticut. Bridge No. 5222, an 1895 Parker through-truss in Canton, Connecticut, is one of them. The Berlin Iron Bridge Company used the bridge in its promotional materials as an example of the company’s capabilities. It is one of the largest 19th-century trusses in Connecticut. The bridge is featured in the publication Connecticut’s Historic Highway Bridges and a website produced by AHS.
 

Other Project Examples

Porter Avenue Bridge, Naugatuck, CT

This concrete arch 1909 bridge, known historically as the Golf Links Bridge, was documented to Connecticut 's state standards.

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Documentation of Massachusetts Highway Bridges

AHS staff have documented a number of historic highway bridges in Massachusetts, including to Historic American Engineering Recordation standards.

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Comstock Covered Bridge

AHS provided historic research and preservation recommendations for the 1873 Comstock Bridge across the Salmon River between Colchester and East Hampton, Connecticut. One of three historic covered bridges in the state, Comstock Bridge was deteriorating and in need of rehabilitation. The project included a conditions survey and recommended methods of repair and stabilization consistent with the bridge’s historic character. AHS’s role was to identify the character-defining features of the main span (and what is probably an even older approach span), as well as developing a chronology of past episodes of repair and modification.

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Dams

Featured Project

HAER Documentation Burlington Woolen Mill Company Dam

AHS prepared Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) documentation of the 1876 timber crib dam described at its completion as “the best dam ever built in Vermont.” The dam was documented in connection with the construction of a new dam for a hydroelectric facility on the Winooski River in Burlington and Winooski, Vermont. The dam is a contributing structure within the National Register-listed Winooski Falls Mills Historic District.

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Other Project Examples

Occum Hydroelectric Plant and Dam

The City of Norwich, Connecticut, contracted with AHS to prepare a National Register of Historic Places nomination for its hydroelectric facility located in the Occum section of Norwich. The complex included an early 20th-century brick powerhouse and a stone dam and headgate structure (1865) to power a textile mill.

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Norwich State Hospital Dams and Reservoirs

As part of a cultural resources survey for the disposition of a 500-acre former state hospital in Connecticut, AHS prepared written and photographic documentation of dams, reservoirs, and water-supply features.

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For more information on AHS’s experience and capabilities, visit our expertise page.