The one-lane covered
bridge is the northernmost of 12 which span the Brandywine in
Transportation Nathan Hayward said original blueprints of the
covered bridge that was destroyed by a Halloween arson fire in
1961 were located and "faithfully followed with modern
improvements" in designing the new structure.
Governor Ruth Ann
Minner told attenders at the ceremony that the rebuilding was
"the kind of project that makes
larger-than-expected crowd turned out on Jan. 11 for the
dedication and reopening of the rebuilt Smith Bridge
linking Christiana and Brandywine Hundreds.
were a procession of carriages and antique cars.
Delaware so unique."
She said that Delaware Department of Transportation responded
favorably when residents of the area made it clear that they
wanted a narrow covered bridge. "It was done the way the
community wanted it done," she said.
Robert Valihura touched on the same theme when he described the
building of a covered bridge in these times as a public works
that is also a public enhancement. As a symbol of simpler times,
he said, it stands in sharp contrast to a "cold and sterile"
bridge that could have been built.
Fittingly, the first
traffic across the span was a parade of four horse-drawn
carriages and some 50 antique automobiles.
covered bridges have been built around the country in recent
years, Smith Bridge is considered unusual in that its main
purpose is not to please tourists but to move traffic on a
secondary, but still widely used, road.
The wooden structure
is supported by steel beams on the original concrete piers. It
was built at a cost of $1.2 million by Eastern States
Construction Services. The bridge itself was built by
Industries, The roadway is 15 feet wide with a maximum height of
12 feet, 10 inches. The wood is bongassi, an African timber said
to be the most durable of all woods.