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|Utica, near Lewistown. At intersection of RT15 and Old Frederick Road, east 1.5 miles to Utica Rd, left to bridge.|
Utica Mills Covered Bridge has a storied past. In 1889 the disastrous Johnstown Flood washed away a 250 foot, two span covered bridge over the Monocacy River on Devilbiss Road in Frederick County. One span of the bridge was saved, dismantled and two years later reconstructed as a 101' covered bridge on Utica Road, just off Frederick Road in Utica, Maryland over Fishing Creek. The original bridge is usually referred to as Devilbiss Road Covered Bridge. Most documentation shows the original bridge as constructed c1850, but many believe it was actually built in 1843. Although the bridge was moved from its location over the Monocacy, it still consists of original timber from the Devilbiss Bridge, so it retained its build date as 1843 and was renamed Utica Mills Covered Bridge.
In 1934 Utica Mills' flooring was reinforced with steel beams and a center pier was added for additional support. However, gradual corrosion of the steel beams reduced the load capacity to only two tons. The rafters of the Utica Mills Covered Bridge were replaced in 1970. In 1993 an oversized truck cracked a support beam. Residents initially feared it was the act of an extortionist who had threatened to burn the bridge if the community persisted in fighting a public project he favored. After the 1993 accident it was discovered that termites and post beetles had caused much of the bridge's timber to rot.
In December 1996 a rehabilitation project for Utica Mills Covered Bridge began at a cost of $337,000. The project was under the general contractor guidance of bridge builders Arnold M. Graton Associates of Ashland, New Hampshire. Rehabilitation included replacing the steel beams thereby increasing the load limit to fifteen tons. Much of the tedious repair labor was done manually using hand tools. Utica Mills was the last of the three remaining Frederick County covered bridges to be rehabilitated in the mid-ninties. It reopened in the spring of 1997.
On June 15, 2006 Utica Mills Covered Bridge was again damaged by a truck. A roof beam, braces and siding on the west end of the portal were destroyed when the truck tried to back out of the bridge. Repair costs were $15,000. The bridge was closed for three weeks until repairs could be made.
In 2011 The National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program awarded a $176,400 grant to Frederick County for repairs to Utica Mills, Roddy Road and Loys Station bridges. Frederick County kicked in another $44,100 to bring the total funding amount to $220,500. The contract to repair the bridges was awarded to Kingsley Construction, Inc.
Work to rehabilitate Utica Mills started in the spring of 2015. When completed Utica Mills Bridge had a new shingled roof and new purlins, interior fire retardant application, fire alarm system, new wood siding and new portal boards where necessary, replacement of any deteriorated roof rafters and timber, new coat of exterior paint, and providing scour protection at the center support. Today, Utica Mills Covered Bridge is well maintained. (Photos of the rehabilitated bridge can be seen by clicking on the Utica Mills Photo Gallery at the top of this page.)
Utica Mills Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1978.
|Bridge Name: Utica Mills||Length at Center: 101'-2"||Height to Peak: Approximately 17'-6" SE end; Approximately 17'-1" NW end|
|Alternate Name(s): Utica||Width Roadway: 16'-5" SE end; 16'-4" NW end||Maximum Height at Portal Entrance: 12'-8" SE end; 12'-3" NW end|
|Alignment: SE to NW||Width Portal Opening: 17'-5" SE end; 17'-4" NW end||Posted Height Restriction: 9'-6"|
|Distance Above Water (variable): 7'-5"||Width Outside Dimensions: 21'-11" SE end; 20'-10" NW end||Roof Overhang-Side: Approximately 1'-4" each side|
|Panels: 10 each side||Posted Weight Restriction: 30,000 lbs||Roof Overhang-Ends: Approximately 1'-0" each end|
Maryland Covered Bridges
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