Currently viewing the tag: "Roddy Road Covered Bridge"

James Rada, Jr.

Frederick County’s covered bridges are a beautiful part of Northern Frederick County. Utica Mills, Loy’s Station, and Roddy Road covered bridges are all within 12 miles of one another, and they are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

However, being historic has also caused problems for the bridges because they aren’t designed for modern vehicles.

The Utica Mills Covered Bridge was damaged earlier this month by an unknown vehicle. The bridge is currently closed for an indefinite period of time until it can be repaired. Traffic is now detoured from Old Frederick Road to Lewistown Road to Hessong Bridge Road.

Because the size of a covered bridge limits the size of vehicles that can pass over it, signage is posted listing the maximum height for a crossing vehicle.

This is not the first time the bridge has been damaged. In June 2021, a truck trying to cross the bridge damaged it, and it was closed for six months.

Roddy Road Covered Bridge has also suffered its share of damage. One incident was caught on video in 2016. A rental truck forced its way over the bridge and kept going with part of the bridge hanging on the truck. It only fell off the truck when it braked before turning onto US 15. The person taking the video pursued the truck and called the police.

Sadly, the damage was extensive enough that the bridge had to be rebuilt.

After that incident, the Frederick County Department of Highway Operations installed clearance bars on either side of the bridge to warn drivers if their vehicles were too tall to enter the bridge.

The Frederick News Post reported that the country is considering doing the same for Utica Mills Covered Bridge. While this would alert drivers of large vehicles if they are too large to cross, there is no place for the vehicles to turn around if that is the case.

Loys Station Covered Bridge has suffered a different type of damage from the other bridges. In 1991, a pickup truck was set on fire while on the bridge as part of an insurance fraud scam. The bridge did not burn down, but it needed extensive reconstruction and did not open again until 1994.

It helps that these bridges are on lesser-traveled roads or roads that don’t typically see large vehicles, but drivers need to pay attention to clearance and weight signs for older bridges like these. They aren’t suggestions. They are warnings that need to be heeded.


Mayor John Kinnaird

The Town of Thurmont celebrated Arbor Day on April 22 by planting more trees in the Community Park.  This planting was undertaken by the Thurmont Green Team, as part of their ongoing efforts to ensure a clean environment for our current and future residents. The damages inflicted on our Ash trees by the emerald borer resulted in many of the mature trees having to be removed from the Community Park. The planting of new trees will, over time, replace the cooling canopy we enjoy in the park. The Green Team also sponsored a Hunting Creek Clean Up Day and managed to remove 690 pounds of trash from the steam and its banks. The Green Team also wants to remind everyone that garden spots are still available in the Community Garden. Many thanks to Thurmont’s Green Team for their hard work!

The Board of Commissioner (BOC) recently approved a bid for street improvements within town. The work includes blacktop overlays of East Street, Lombard Street, and Shipley Avenue. This work will be completed during the summer months; please be aware of these projects and, as with all of our street repairs, please be careful when driving through the construction areas.

The BOC is currently working on the 2017-2018 Budget. I am hopeful that we will use the Constant Yield Tax Rate for the upcoming year.  This means that we will be collecting the same amount of taxes as during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. With recent increases in property values, everyone should realize a very small decrease in property taxes. We hope to adopt the final budget in May.

In recent weeks, you may have noticed underground work being completed at the intersection of Rouzer Lane and Rt. 550. This work is part of the ongoing effort to ensure dependable electric service for Catoctin High School and the Catoctin Heights subdivision.  Currently, Catoctin Heights is at the end of a service line that starts on the Emmitsburg Road and crosses Rt. 15. The improvements will include new underground service lines, as well as a new loop connected to Sandy Spring Lane, to provide a backup circuit should there be a problem with the current feed line.

I was recently appointed to serve on the Frederick County Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC). SWAC is charged with reviewing the County Solid Waste Plan, and we have been following closely the What’s Next initiative, established by County Executive Gardner to investigate improved recycling options for our residents. The State of Maryland has mandated a recycling level of 90 percent for organic waste, including food waste and grass clippings, by the year 2040. This goal will require a massive undertaking within Frederick County to start a program of collection and composting to realize these levels of recycling. The current recommended plan calls for as many as 10-14 small composting facilities across the County and new methods of collection. Ultimately, all residences, businesses, schools, and other facilities will be included in this plan. I encourage all of our residents to pay attention as this plan moves forward and to get involved! For more information about What’s Next, visit

Please take the time to enjoy the newly rebuilt Roddy Road Covered Bridge, as well as the improvements to Roddy Road Park and Loy’s Station Park!

I can be reached at 301-606-9458 or by email at


 Mayor Don Briggs

In April, I was given the opportunity to speak at three events.

On April 8, at the Doughboy statue, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the town commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the United States declaring war on Germany and entering World War I. Commissioner Blanchard and I spoke. Thank you, Commissioner Blanchard, for putting this event together.

In addition to a quote of General Douglas MacArthur, I referenced, in a humble tribute to the soldiers who fought in WWI: “There, for those soldiers, in the prime of their lives, it was a hope for a tomorrow and a prayer for their – now. For us, because of them and what they did and gave, we have a tomorrow of tomorrows and prayers for our now and those nows to come.”

Also on April 8, I joined the  more than two hundred people who attended the dedication of the sprinkler system at the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum National Fire Heritage Center on South Seton Avenue, sharing in awe of the live-burn demo, which used a “Side-by-Side Burn Trailer.”

“Welcome. They say every story has a protagonist, a leading character. The good person, the good people. In our town, there are many protagonists for the many stories that form our community story. And what a story it is, with a rich history that includes both an emphasis on education and spiritualty… Today, we gather for one such story to recognize the collaborative efforts of suppliers, installers, fire service personnel, and all levels of government, to bring about the installation of the sprinkler system in the Fire Museum and National Fire Heritage Center…But underlying this effort has been the quiet efforts of a group of amazing people, lifelong fireman, rooted here in Frederick County and from all over the country… To these founders, it is an honor and pleasure to know and work with you,” I said during my remarks.

On April 10, Libby and I dined with Korey Shorb and Conrad Weaver. Korey is doing great things for the county to educate and understand addiction through his “Up & Out” Foundation. Our Emmy-Award-winner Conrad is producing a documentary on drug addiction, with a focus on Frederick County. More to come on the town’s collaboration with these gentlemen.

On April 12, Libby and I, along with Commissioner Buckman, attended the presentation on addiction at Catoctin High School, sponsored principally by the Schildt family: “CHRIS for Family Support in Recovery.” It was a moving program that touched all the sensibilities of those in attendance, in the nearly packed-full auditorium. I am blessed to have coached young men, in either football or rugby, over a span of five decades, during which I attended funerals for five of my players. Recently, I have been blessed to be mayor of Emmitsburg for the past five years, and during this time, I have already attended five funerals for drug-related deaths.

It is written, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our treasure is our families. In the face of this insidious onslaught, put away petty distractions, and, yes, everything is petty when it comes to our families, as well as our friends and community.

They say that our grandparents—and for some, great-grandparents—were the greatest generation in what they did during WWI. We need another greatest generation in this fight for our children. We can be the next greatest generation—we have to be the next greatest generation.

I am so blessed to live in Northern Frederick County.

James Rada, Jr.

The Roddy Road Covered Bridge had barely reopened after an accident in May caused significant damage to the roof and beams, when another truck crashed through the bridge in June, carrying part of it away. The bridge has been closed since June, as county officials have worked to secure a contractor to do the repair work, in addition to deciding on what—if anything—can be done to stop this sort of thing from happening again.

The 40-foot-long bridge, which was built in 1856, is a single-span Kingpost-design bridge. It is the smallest of the covered bridges still in existence in Maryland, and is a Thurmont-area landmark. In the 1930s, steel beams were added beneath the bridge for the additional support needed for heavier vehicles.

The bridge was closed for rehabilitation last summer, but on May 18, 2016, a box truck got stuck on the bridge and had to be sawed out by firefighters from Guardian Hose Company. Repairs were made, but then the following month, another driver forced his box truck through the bridge, actually carrying off part of the bridge on top of the truck, until it fell off as the truck turned onto U.S. 15.

Amanda Radcliffe, with the Frederick County Office of Transportation Engineering, said that the county has been moving forward with the bridge repairs, although a contract has not yet been signed with a contractor to make the repairs. “The county is utilizing emergency purchasing funds,” explained Radcliffe.

The projected cost of the repairs is expected to be approximately $150,000.

The county is also looking at ways of stopping traffic damage to the bridge and will hold a future meeting with the community to get residents’ ideas and opinions.