Burnside Bridge Repair

October 13, 2015

Today work started on the restoration of the Lower Bridge. The photos show the placement of portadam framework in the Antietam Creek. In the next couple of days we expect to see fabric and pumps placed and then we will run the pumps to help remove the water in the dammed off areas.


October 10, 2015

On October 10 the Burnside Bridge will be closed for major repairs to the historic structure. The bridge was built in 1836 and was made famous during the Battle of Antietam. In January of 2014 a section of the stone facing on the upstream side of the bridge collapsed into Antietam Creek. Temporary repairs were made and an engineering assessment of the entire structure was undertaken. The investigation revealed substantial deterioration of the walls and significant water infiltration contributing to the structural instability of the bridge. In addition, the bridge piers have voids that need to be filled to stabilize the structure.

The $1.7 million preservation project to insure the iconic bridge's long term structural stability will be completed in two phases. Phase 1 will primarily focus on in-stream work to strengthen the stone piers and arches. Portable dams will be installed in the creek to divert the water during this phase and work will continue through fall. Phase II will begin in early spring with repairs that require selectively dismantling and rebuilding sections of the bridge walls. The contract will be managed by the National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center. For more information contact Park Superintendent Susan Trail at 301-432-7648.


June 26, 2014

Repair Work Has Started on the Historic Burnside Bridge

Workers make bridge repairs

Workers make repairs to the Burnside Bridge

National Park Service


In January of 2014 a section of the stone facing on the upstream side of the Burnside Bridge collapsed into Antietam Creek. The National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center will begin repairing the bridge this week. The Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) was founded in 1977 to meet the growing demand for craft skills development for NPS employees tasked with preserving the thousands of historic structures within the National Park System. HPTC is currently located in Frederick, Maryland within the Monocacy National Battlefield.

The repairs to the Bridge will include:

1. Remove the wood coping and dismantle the parapet associated with the damaged area to sound masonry.
2. Investigate the bridge's as-built conditions as part of a larger condition assessment.
3. Reconstruct the damaged upstream wall
4. Repoint the central-span bulge on the upstream wall
5. Reconstruct the wood coping with the addition of a thru-wall flashing.

When complete, the repairs will have corrected the most extreme deficiencies of the January blowout and larger protrusion in the upstream spandrel wall, while also preserving the historic detailing and character defining features of the Burnside Bridge.

Once all stones have been reset and repairs completed, the stonework shall be repointed in a way that replicates the same finish as the rest of the structure's mortar joints. An estimated 300 to 400 linear feet of pointing will be required. HPTC will document all existing conditions and on-going stabilization efforts including weekly reports, photographic narrative, archival research, field sketches, and measured drawings. The repairs are expected to be completed by the fall of this year.

Later this summer there will be a complete assessment of the bridge conducted under a separate contract with an architectural/engineering firm to determine if additional work is needed for the long term preservation of this critically important resource at the battlefield.


March 28, 2014
Staff from the Historic Preservation Training Center pulls bridge stones out of Antietam Creek.

Crane pulling up stones

A crane pulls the fallen stones out of Antietam Creek


March 17, 2014
Burnside Bridge is once again open for visitors to walk across. Repairs to the damaged section of parapet wall are scheduled to begin in April and will be completed by the Historic Preservation Training Center, a National Park Service historic preservation and maintenance training program based in Frederick, Maryland.

The NPS will also be conducting an engineering condition assessment of Burnside Bridge this spring to determine what additional work needs to be done to ensure the long-term stability and preservation of this important structure.

Many people have expressed an interest in donating to the NPS to help pay for the repair work. Donations may be made directly to Antietam National Battlefield, with the specification that they be used for the bridge project.

Burnside Bridge Fencing

Fencing protects the damaged area of the bridge


January 17, 2014
A section of the stone facing on the upstream side of the Burnside Bridge collapsed. The park is in the process of assessing the damage and determining the actions necessary to repair the bridge. As of today the park does not know the full extent of the damage or the cost of repairs. We will post updates as information becomes available.

Burnside Bridge damage

Photograph of the colapsed section of the Burnside Bridge

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