Siegrist's Mill Covered Bridge
Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge

Holly White

The Association for Bridge Construction and Design’s (ABCD) Susquehanna Chapter chose RETTEW’s Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge restoration project for its Outstanding Context Sensitive Solution Bridge Design Award. The award recognizes projects that exemplify superb technical merit, constructability, innovation and aesthetics.

Siegrist’s Mill Covered Bridge is among the oldest of 20 Lancaster County-owned covered wooden bridges and was originally built in 1885. In September of 2011 floodwaters from Tropical Storm Lee ripped the historic treasure from its foundation and into Chiques Creek, causing extensive damage to the original structure.

RETTEW designed and managed the complete reconstruction of the bridge using the same authentic 19th-century architectural techniques that were used in the original structure while preserving 15 percent of the original material. The team, which also included Bulldog Construction Co. Inc., and Lancaster County Timber Frames Inc., completed the rebuild in less than two years.

The project won the context-sensitive award because of its specific set of challenges, including discovering the genuine design and recycling as much timber as possible. RETTEW also raised the bridge by two feet to mitigate future flooding damage, and in replacing some of the bridge’s abutments, the company specified a real stone masonry façade to reflect the architecture of the originating time period. In clearing trees to salvage the bridge from the creek, a cedar-shake roofing system could be installed with no fear of mold growth from shade, and the shakes are reminiscent of the tradition of covered bridges in Lancaster County.

“We are truly grateful to have had the opportunity to restore such a historic landmark back to its original glory, and to work with everyone who was involved with the project,” said Dave Hoglund, RETTEW’s project manager. “This award is the result of a job well done by many, and we are honored to have been a part of this community effort.”