One of Bucks County’s most popular historic icons -- covered bridges -- are the subject of a $2.5 million project to put them “in pristine shape” and keep them in that condition “for many years to come.’

The repair and maintenance work began this month on the seven county-owned connections and will take about 15 months to complete.

And here’s more good news: The effort is being paid for entirely by proceeds from a $5 fee the county imposes on new and renewed vehicle registrations.

“It’s a project that will basically take all seven of these bridges and bring them up to very good, pristine shape, and will keep them all in that shape for many years to come,” said Kevin S. Spencer, the county’s director of operations.

Mostly constructed of wood, many of the bridges now have steel beneath them to hold the structure in place. According to Spencer, the steel needs to be stripped of old paint, then re-painted, and fireproofing will be done on interior and exterior wood surfaces. In addition, he said, some cedar facing and siding boards will be replaced.

Three of the bridges will have cedar-shingle roofs replaced, with the new roofs treated with fire retardant, as fires have destroyed covered bridges in past years. Others have been damaged by vehicles striking them and by trucks too large for weight limitations.

It’s the first major work in a decade on the bridges, said Spencer, noting each will take about two to three months to complete. The bridges will be closed during repairs, with detours posted.

The seven bridges are:

 Frankenfield Covered Bridge, on Cafferty Road, Tinicum Township;

 Mood’s Covered Bridge, on Blooming Glen Road, East Rockhill Township;

 Van Sant Covered Bridge, on Covered Bridge Road, Solebury Township;

 Pine Valley Covered Bridge, on Keeley Avenue, New Britain Township;

 Knechts Covered Bridge, on Knechts Bridge Road, Springfield Township;

 Cabin Run Covered Bridge, on Covered Bridge Road, Plumstead Township, and

 Uhlerstown Covered Bridge, on Uhlerstown Road, Tinicum Township.

Covered bridges were built in the early to late 1800, about 1,500 built statewide. Today, only about 200 exist. At one time more than 50 covered bridges were in use in Bucks, but neglect, damage and replacement have claimed all but 12 of them, 10 of which can still carry vehicles.

Kudos to Bucks for undertaking this project.

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