FLASHBACK: CALHOUN'S MOST AMBITIOUS PRIVATE BRIDGE -'Bailey Bridge' Like Giant Erector Set

(10/12/2017)

Workers have been inserting bolts by the thousands into a 'Bailey
Bridge' being built over the LK River at Big Bend (Hur Herald Photos)

By Bob Weaver 2006

It is the most ambitious private bridge-building project ever undertaken in Calhoun County - Francis Cain's 30-ton "Bailey Bridge" across the Little Kanawha River at Big Bend.

Cain said "I've always dreamed of having a bridge (across the Little Kanawha) to my house, and now it's happening."

The well-known Calhoun farmer and oil and gas man has been fjording the river for years and using a swinging bridge to walk to his house.

Construction started in April on the steel piers by contractor Turman Construction of Barboursville, but now the assembly work is being done by local workers.

These past few weeks Cain's employees have been working diligently in the hot summer sun constructing the span, much like putting an Erector set together, and a section of the bridge has already been skidded onto the first span.

The Bailey Bridge is a pre-fabricated truss bridge, originally designed for use by military engineering units to bridge up to 200 foot streams.

The bridge requires no special tools or heavy equipment for construction, but in war it could handle heavy tanks.

It has always been considered one of the great examples of military engineering, designed by British civil servant Donald Bailey, who tinkered with model bridges as a hobby.

They were put into use during World War II by the Corps of Royal Engineers, first used in Italy in 1943.

Bailey was later knighted for his invention.

Francis Cain says "The bridge will hopefully
be done by the first frost" (Hur Herald Photos)


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