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Restoration Procedures


My approach to the restoration of a historic metal truss bridge is to restore as much of the original material as possible. If a bridge member cannot be restored, I replicate the original piece. To destroy the original parts or make no effort to replicate them is to destroy a valuable historic record. The parts that make up a historic bridge and the historic bridge itself are the words of a craftsman.

This method of restoring a historic metal truss bridge is based in part on The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation that state “deteriorated architectural features shall be repaired rather than replaced, wherever possible,” and advise against “removing or radically changing architectural metal features which are important in defining the overall historic character of the building so that, as a result, the character is diminished.” Yet, there are no standards specific to the restoration of historic metal truss bridges, and as a result historic metal truss bridges are often end up altered.

If standards are developed they must include not only the engineer’s perspective but also the craftsman’s. Standards should also require steel fabricators to demonstrate proficiency in the use of the tools they have selected and the procedures they develop. Furthermore, a high level of inspection must be required to ensure that the standards agreed upon for the project are met.

Available Documents
Aesthetics in Design
Excerpt From J. A. L. Waddell's De Pontibus, 1898
Cast Iron Repair Procedure
Evaluation and Repair of Wrought Iron and Steel Structure in Indiana
Purdue University, Mark D. Bowman
Field Identification of Wrought Iron
Pack Rust Procedure
Removing Rivets

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