Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Cleft-Ridge Span - Prospect Park
Olmsted and Vaux designed numerous paths and trails for both horses and pedestrians, requiring the construction of many small-scale bridges. The Cleft-Ridge Span is the first concrete arch bridge in the United States. It contains no iron or steel reinforcing and is an example of precast artificial stone construction.
The span is only 20 feet in length but has a width of more than 60 feet; more like a tunnel than a bridge. The detailed gothic and classical ornamentation cast into the surface of the artificial stone is clearly visible. Precast artificial stone served as an important precedent for the later use of concrete as a vehicle for ornamentation.