Lancaster – The historic John Bright Number 2 Covered Bridge is open again to the public. The bridge was damaged in an arson attack on January 15. Safety barricades were removed from both sides of the bridge over the holiday weekend. But, the project isn't completely finished.
"We spent the last couple of months removing the flooring and all the burned and damaged beams," said Interim Physical Plant Director Mark Bateson. "We replaced it with new wood. While we were doing the work, some of our new wood was stolen. So, we didn't have enough to finish it all. But there is an eight-foot wide section that is completed and is ok for use by the public."
The fire was set at the intersection of structural members about mid-span on the bridge. Support posts underneath the bridge were damaged, and there were two large holes in the deck that goes across the bridge.
The bridge is located along the Lancaster City Bike Trail and has been closed to the public since the fire. Once the rest of the wood arrives, the work will be completed. But Bateson doesn't know when that will happen.
"The bridge is structurally sound now," said Bateson. "The city engineer signed off on it, and that is why we decided to go ahead an open up the bridge."
The bridge is listed with the U.S. Parks Department on its Registry of Historic Places and is a significant aspect of campus and community history in support of the Lancaster Festival. The bridge was built in 1881 by August Borneman. It originally spanned Poplar Creek near Carroll, but was relocated to the Lancaster Campus for preservation. The bridge moved to the Lancaster Campus 25 years ago in April, 1988. It has a reverse bowstring style truss, which is a very rare bridge design.