Next summer, the county hopes to improve a parking lot near the bridge.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
SALEM -- A delay in restoring an 1876 covered bridge has been overcome and completion of the project is expected in about two months.
The company rebuilding the Teegarden Centennial Covered Bridge along Eagleton Road in Salem Township has located the massive, 30-foot-long white oak timbers needed for the job, deputy Columbiana County Engineer Bob Durbin said recently.
Unavailability of the lumber has slowed restoration work by W.M. Brode Co. of Newcomerstown and has threatened to postpone completion of the undertaking, which began this spring.
With the timbers being delivered this week, progress on the bridge's restoration should resume soon and be finished in about two months, Durbin said.
Right now, the 66-foot-long bridge sits dismantled in a shop in Alliance, where crews have been rebuilding many of the bridge's timbers.
Once that process is complete, the span will be hauled back to the bridge's location in Salem Township and reassembled. The bridge, no longer used by vehicles, spans Little Beaver Creek.
Trying to deter crime
County officials have worried vandals will try to burn the restored bridge. Wooden covered bridges are easy prey for criminals, who have showed a willingness to torch the historic structures.
The restoration company is treating the lumber being used in rebuilding the bridge with a flame-retarding chemical to help prevent it from being burned, Durbin said.
In addition, county officials intend to install security lights around the structure to help deter crimes.
The $295,000 restoration project is being funded with county, state and federal money.
Once the task is complete, the county intends to undertake improvements next summer in the scenic area surrounding the bridge, Durbin said.
State and federal grants will be sought to pay for a nearly $109,000 project to pave a dirt parking lot near the bridge and to erect a nearly two-foot-high wall around the lot. Stones from old bridge abutments will be used to build the wall, Durbin said.
The wall will help keep people from driving out of the lot and onto an off-limits dirt trail that runs along Little Beaver Creek.
The lot is used by people who come to see the bridge and to access the nearby Greenway Trail, a nearly 12-mile-long hike-bike path that stretches between Lisbon and Leetonia.