Poland Covered Bridge (Cambridge Junction)

Cambridge, Vermont
The Poland Covered Bridge, also known as the Junction Covered Bridge or the Cambridge Junction Covered Bridge, is a remarkable historical landmark of Vermont.
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About This Location

The Poland Covered Bridge, also known as the Junction Covered Bridge or the Cambridge Junction Covered Bridge, is a remarkable historical landmark that gracefully spans the Lamoille River, connecting Cambridge Junction Road to State Route 15 in Cambridge, Vermont.

This elegant covered bridge was designed and constructed in 1887 by George W. Holmes, adding to the rich heritage of Vermont’s covered bridge tradition. The Poland Covered Bridge boasts a single span supported by two Burr arch trusses, a design that showcases the engineering ingenuity of the era. Each truss features an arch composed of two parallel arcs crafted from single timbers, situated on either side of the vertical posts and diagonal bracing. To reinforce the structure, several iron suspension rods are linked to the top and bottom chords, ensuring its stability for generations to come. Additionally, a central laminated stringer is tie-bolted to the underside of the deck beams, enhancing the bridge’s strength.

Measuring 152.5 feet in length at ground level, with a clear span of 138.5 feet, the Poland Covered Bridge provides a 15.5-foot-wide roadway, accommodating both vehicles and pedestrians. Its floor is constructed with planks set on edge, running parallel to the trusses, creating a sturdy wooden surface. One car can travel the bridge at a time and bikers/walkers can cross the bridge when it is clear.

Externally, the bridge is a testament to both functionality and aesthetics. The timber trusses, pegged and bolted together, form the bridge’s sidewalls and are sheathed with unpainted flush boards hung vertically. This design showcases five rectangular windows irregularly spaced along the west wall, while the east wall features one window near each end, allowing natural light to filter into the bridge’s interior.

Over time, the Poland Covered Bridge faced deterioration and structural issues, leading to a noticeable lean. In 1995, a vehicle struck one of the king posts, inadvertently straightening the bridge’s lean but causing further support system failure. Recognizing the need for preservation, a reconstruction effort commenced in 2003, led by Alpine Construction. This substantial restoration was completed on July 4, 2004, preserving the bridge’s historical significance and structural integrity. To prevent future collisions with vehicles, short “tire rails” were installed on each side of the traveled lane, effectively safeguarding this iconic structure.

In recognition of its historical importance and architectural beauty, the Poland Covered Bridge was honored with a listing on the National Register of Historic Places on October 9, 1974. This prestigious designation, assigned by the National Park Service with the reference number 74000230, highlights the bridge’s role in preserving Vermont’s rich covered bridge heritage for generations to come.

Location

Address: Cambridge Junction Road, Cambridge, Vermont
Place GPS Coordinates: 44.651076, -72.814658
Parking GPS Coordinates: 44.651076, -72.814658
Parking Notes: There are many free parking spots at the Cambridge Junction Rail Trail Park lot located next to the covered bridge.

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