Date Of Visit: December 26, 2016
Location: Bridge St (no really, it’s called Bridge St) and Old Gilbertville Rd, Ware – Hardwick, MA
Hours:Open everyday, 24 hours a day
Parking: Despite the signs to the contrary, you can park on the side of the road on Bridge St. Parking isn’t available on the other side which leads to Old Gilbertville Rd.
Handicapped Accessible: Yes
Highlights: Covered Bridge in Central Mass
Many years ago, wooden bridges, particularly covered bridges used to dot the landscapes of Massachusetts.
Now, Massachusetts only has about a dozen covered bridges that you can drive on. Although it may not seem sturdy, the Ware-Hardwick Bridge, also known as the Granville Bridge because the bridge is in the unincorporated village of Gilbertville which is considered part of Hardwick, is one of the few remaining traffic worthy covered bridges in Massachusetts.
The Ware-Hardwick Bridge, or Hardwick-Ware Bridge depending on which way you’re traveling, is 139.1 feet long and is 130.9 feet at its largest span. It is 19.7 feet wide and 14.4 feet tall. I suspect trucks would have to seek alternate routes because of the low clearance. But, according to the state Department of Transportation, there currently is no weight limit for vehicles passing through. Trucks wouldn’t typically use this bridge, in any event, since it is located on a side road.
The Ware-Hardwick Bridg crosses the Ware River which was relatively calm and iced over in some parts during my visit.
The bridge, which is a covered through lattice wooden single-web, double-chord truss design, was originally built in 1887 according to public records, despite the sign bearing the year 1886 just above the entrance on the Ware side. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 8, 1986, roughly 100 years after it was originally built.
The original bridge only had a capacity of 6 “short tons” (5.4 tons). It was closed down in 2002 to restore the structural integrity of the bridge due in part to an insect infestation. The bridge re-opened in October, 2010 after a $1.9 million restoration project.
Fun fact: the bridge was one of the few bridges to survive a major flooding on the Ware River in 1936.
Below is a video of us driving over the bridge.