West Liberty Street Covered Bridge
**Updated information about the West Liberty Street Covered Bridge will be added to the bottom of this page as it becomes available.** Skip to End
There is going to be a new covered bridge in Ashatabula County - the West Liberty Street Bridge coming to Geneva, Ohio sometime in 2010.
You ask, "And what's so special about that!"
Well, here's the deal: It is going to be covered bridge number eighteen in Ashtabula County and it will be eighteen feet long and twenty-four feet wide.
The point here is that this bridge will also be a new record for the nation - weighing in at - or maybe we should say - measuring in at . . . the shortest covered bridge in the United States!
Ok, so now this will give Ashtabula County, Ohio the national record on both ends of the spectrum. It currently has the longest covered bridge in the nation - the new Smulen-Gulf Covered Bridge and it will soon have the shortest covered bridge in the nation as well.
The bridge is being called the West Liberty Street Covered Bridge. It will be replacing an old and badly deteriorating cement and metal structure on West Liberty Street near downtown Geneva, Ohio.
Some are incorrectly claiming that it will be the only covered bridge inside a municipal corporation as well.
Conneaut, Ohio already holds this distinction - with two covered bridges inside the city limits: Creek Road Covered Bridge and Middle Road Covered Bridge. See Covered Bridges.
A caveat to the Geneva project is that the timber and the labor are all being donated.
The timber has been grown and harvested locally and the labor for construction will be performed by carpentry students of Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School.
The project is being supervised in part by the very capable and now famous bridge builder and engineer himself, the former Ashtabula County Engineer John Smolen.
The City of Geneva is still seeking donations for windows, roofing and other material needed for this project.
Plans are well underway, and Geneva City officials are turning their attention toward the various projects needing completed to accomodate the new covered bridge.
Their is paving to be done on Sherman Street, sanitary sewer work needing done on South Broadway, the relocation of the Soldiers and Sailors monument to a better location and the revitalization of 1,400 feet of Cowles Creek.
Meentime, some 60 students at the Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School in Jefferson are actually building the bridge which will be moved to location once completed.
The plan is to have the bridge built, placed and all other work done in time to dedicate the bridge at this year's annual Covered Bridge Festival in October.
Apparently the West Liberty Street covered bridge project has "fallen short" (sorry, couldn't resist the comparison) of original target dates.
Work on the actual bridge finally started the first week of October, 2010 - just before the actual festival date.
Students from Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School have been working on assembling the bridge for several weeks now.
Work has been progressing well as the weather has been quite cooperative.
In previous months, students had been milling, drilling, cutting and shaving the donated timbers.
The timbers were first kiln dried and then sent to South Dakota over the summer for treating.
The students have even made the bolts, washers and metal plates to be used in the construction of the bridge.
The only part that is not locally produced is the 40 foot laminated main beam for the floor.
Now, the final phase of putting all the pieces together has begun. Assisted by a crane and professionals the shape begins to emerge.
Alas, tis done - the West Liberty Street covered bridge was completed for use and dedicated during the 2011 Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival.
To prove its strength and reliability the first vehicle across was a firetruck.
Eventually a "toll booth" structure will be added to the area to serve as a visitor information center.
**Information current as of November 2011**
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