Heather Goodson is today’s guest blogger. Heather is one of more than a dozen professionals at Mead & Hunt who specialize in delivering Section 106 compliance for transportation projects. With an interest in engineering history, Heather often works on bridge surveys and rehabilitation projects. Even when on vacation, her interest in engineering history usually takes her off the beaten path to explore gems such as remnants of Route 66 in northeast Oklahoma and Madison County, Iowa’s covered bridges.
Recently, on my drive back to Minnesota from vacation in Texas, I took the opportunity to tour a few places of interest, including 5 of the 6 extant covered bridges of Madison County, Iowa (of book and movie fame).
Destruction of covered bridges by fire and/or vandals is a real problem. When visiting the Hogback Covered Bridge, I noticed the strategy implemented to deter destruction of the bridge – electronic surveillance. In the photo below, the covered bridge is on the right side and the surveillance equipment pole is on the left. The surveillance camera is located below the solar panel. I couldn’t quite tell what the white apparatus on the top of the pole is, but I presume that it is an antenna.
It was interesting to see such an elaborate surveillance system considering the remoteness of the bridge (off gravel roads, in the middle of the countryside, miles from town). While I haven’t confirmed the reason for the extensive surveillance system, I presume it is related to the destruction by arson of another covered bridge (Cedar Covered Bridge) in the early 2000s (it was reconstructed and reopened in 2004).