Pier No. 2 of the former C&O Bridge at Covington is off-shore from the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. It was built in 1887. In 1927, this pier was extended downstream to support a new railroad bridge. The other three piers remained independent. The original structure was then converted to highway use and was purchased by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1937. In 1968, an engineering analysis of the superstructure indicated critical deficiencies in terms of "safety factors", and the bridge was closed to all traffic. Subsequently, various plans for reconstruction came under consideration. Of greatest significance here is the consideration toward re-use of Pier No. 2 – jointly with a new highway bridge and the existing railroad bridge. Cost estimates appeared persuasive; the structural feasibility remained dependent upon the integrity of the pier -- more specifically, the worthiness of the masonry, concrete, and the underlying timber caisson.

Prior to removal of the steel superstructure (fall of 1970), vertical cores were extracted from Pier No. 2 for evaluation. This report concerns the evaluation of specimens of wood from the timber caisson.

The substructure construction was described by Wm. H. Burr, in the Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Vol. XXIII, 1890; a copy is appended hereto for convenient reference; Plate XIII, therein, is most pertinent.

Report Date


Report Number

No. 301

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