The Mentone Bridge
Click on a picture to view an enlarged image.
The upper left view is looking upstream toward the low dam at Camp Skyline, which can be seen beneath the bridge. The next image to the right is a close-up of the northwest end of the bridge from the downstream side. The subsequent images are of the same end of the bridge as the camera is moved under the bridge and finally from the upstream side.
The Mentone Bridge was built in 1928. The length of its main span is 90 feet and its overall length is 127 feet. There are two ten-foot traffic lanes. The bridge is in excellent condition and is expected by ALDOT to last indefinitely. It replaced a covered wooden bridge located a half mile downstream. No machinery was used in its construction. Concrete was mixed by hand in wooden troughs located down on the stream bed. The outlines of the boards comprising the forms for the bridge can still be seen on its underneath surfaces.
Until recently, there were only two other bridges of the age and design of the Mentone Bridge remaining in Alabama. One is the Whatley Bridge, located four miles east of the Mentone Bridge on SR-117 and built at the same time, which is scheduled for demolition within a year. The other was a beautiful arch bridge on SR-75 one mile southwest of Snead Crossroads in Blount County which was built in 1929. Unfortunately, this last bridge was recently demolished by ALDOT and replaced with a bridge identical to the new bridge planned for Mentone. (There is one remaining similar bridge, built in 1924, abandoned in Marion County near SR-118 one mile east of Texas.)
The Alabama Historic Bridge Inventory by The University of Alabama Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering prepared for ALDOT in 1998 states that the Mentone Bridge (BIN 543) is a "good example of this type" of bridge for eligibility for the National Historic Register. It recommends eligibility under "Criteria C.1" as a "good example of a particular type of bridge" and states that the Mentone Bridge is "one of the best examples of a smaller concrete open spandrel arch" bridge.
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