Roddy Road Covered Bridge
Roddy Road, Thurmont, Frederick County
The Roddy Road Covered Bridge is a small, one-lane, single-span wood king post truss covered bridge on concrete abutments, which crosses Owen’s Creek near Thurmont. The structure spans 40' and is 16' wide, with a 12'-8" clearance. The wooden deck stringers were replaced with steel in 1964-65 to strengthen the structure and to increase load capacity. This steel was replaced again in 1979-80 because the stringers had completely corroded, and again by galvanized steel stringers and diaphragms in 1995. The entire structure was covered with red beveled German clapboarding, and was finished with a tin gabled roof. In March 1992, the Roddy Road Bridge was damaged by an oversize truck attempting to drive over the bridge, and was closed to traffic as a result of the damage to the roof and truss. The closure caused a hardship for local farmers and residents, and in October 1992, after two days of volunteer repair and repainting, the bridge was reopened to traffic. In May 1993, the bridge was repainted to historic standards.
The Roddy Road, Loys Station, and Utica Bridges are three of only eight remaining covered bridges in the state of Maryland. Until the introduction of the steel truss bridge in the mid 19th century, most of the crossings in the county were wood truss structures, later covered for protection from the elements. At least 52 such structures once graced the landscape of the state; but storms, fires, and progress have claimed almost all of them. Preservation of the remaining structures as examples of 19th century bridge engineering techniques is extremely important to the history of Frederick County and the state of Maryland. The three bridges provide a good comparative study of wood bridge truss techniques, as each displays a different truss design. The Utica Bridge has a Burr truss, named after Theodore Burr, who patented the design in 1817. The Roddy Road Bridge is constructed of the single king post design, while the Loys Station Bridge is a multiple king post structure.