Montevideo Road Bridge Rehabilitation in Poolesville Wins ‘Excellence in Preservation’ Award from Montgomery Preservation

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Montevideo Bridge Rehabilitation Project in Poolesville was selected as the winner of the recently announced 2021 “Michael F. Dwyer Excellence in Preservation Award” by Montgomery Preservation, Inc. The Montevideo Bridge Project preserved and rehabilitated a historic, one-lane bridge over Dry Seneca Creek that was originally constructed in 1910. When a routine inspection revealed a critical defect in the bottom chord of the bridge truss, MCDOT engineered a plan to rehabilitate the bridge while minimizing disruption to a nearby farm and winery.

Montgomery Preservation Inc. (MPI) is a countywide nonprofit historic preservation organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting the County’s architectural heritage and historic landscapes. Each year, MPI’s board of directors evaluates award nominations. Winners were announced at an event on Oct. 28 at the Kensington Armory.

“We have rehabilitated or replaced about 25 bridges over the past five years, but it is not often we get the chance to preserve a historic bridge like this one,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “This bridge does more than connect places. It also connects us to the past and helps tell the stories of those who came before us. We are thankful to receive this recognition from MPI.”

During the rehabilitation of the Montevideo Bridge, a crane lifted the bridge off its abutments and moved it to a nearby staging area, allowing MCDOT to install a temporary bridge and reopen Montevideo Road to vehicular traffic. Workers cleaned, painted and reused the salvageable parts of the bridge. Deteriorated and undersized structural pieces were replaced and connected with bolts. Stonemasons carefully repaired and repointed the sandstone abutments. After the repairs, a crane lifted the truss bridge back into place.

The Montevideo Road bridge is a one-lane, Warren pony truss bridge on masonry abutments. A Warren pony truss bridge has the travel surface running along the bottom chords of trusses. They stand on either side with the supports not connected at the top. This creates an opening overhead. These trusses are designed for lighter loads. While truss bridges were once standard in Maryland, this is the last remaining bridge of its kind in Montgomery County. It is in the National Register’s Seneca Historic District and is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Montevideo Road is designated as an Exceptional Rustic Road and the bridge is a significant feature of the road.

MCDOT takes a systematic approach to bridge maintenance and performs routine maintenance on all 513 of the County’s bridges. Biennial bridge inspections allow MCDOT to discover, document, and correct structural vulnerabilities. View a video on the project here. For information on MCDOT programs and services visit, montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot, follow @MCDOTNow on TwitterFacebook and Instagram, and subscribe to MCDOT’s “Go Montgomery!” newsletter.

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