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Title: Covered Bridge Security Manual

Author: Phares, Brett; Wipf, Terry; Sievers, Ryan; Hosteng, Travis;

Date: 2013

Source: USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, General Technical Report, FPL-GTR-223, 2013; 37 p.

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

Description: The design, construction, and use of covered timber bridges is all but a lost art in these days of pre-stressed concrete, high-performance steel, and the significant growth both in the volume and size of vehicles. Furthermore, many of the existing covered timber bridges are preserved only because of their status on the National Registry of Historic Places or the diligent maintenance and care of the owners of these structures, or both. Of the covered timber bridges that remain in the United States, only a small percentage still stand today because of arson, vandalism, neglect, natural disasters, and other factors. The objective of this work is to provide covered timber bridge owners with the tools to quickly and efficiently design and implement a security system to protect these important historical landmarks. This goal was obtained with an in-depth analysis of equipment based on the practicality in a covered bridge application. Other major considerations required for all equipment to work efficiently within a security system are also fully discussed, including, but not limited to, maintenance, power requirements, and general set-up of an integrated security system. A comprehensive case study is presented involving monitoring systems placed on five of the six covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa, at the end of this report to showcase the abilities of an integrated system and all the decisions that must be made throughout the process for the entire system to work as intended.

Keywords: Covered bridges, wood bridges, security

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Phares, Brett; Wipf, Terry; Sievers, Ryan; Hosteng, Travis. 2013. Covered Bridge Security Manual. USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, General Technical Report, FPL-GTR-223, 2013; 37 p.


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