Historic sites of all types are frequently the targets of vandalism, arson, and other malicious acts. With many historic or nationally significant landmarks, protection can be achieved by displaying an authority presence. Historic covered bridges represent a unique challenge because they are quite numerous and commonly located in remote locations. The difficulty associated with managing these structures has been clearly shown with recent arson events that have resulted in the destruction and permanent damage of these bridges. Any available guidelines for securing bridges and other transportation structures focus on bridges that are either signature structures or are considered critical lifelines. Although providing some useful information, these guidelines do not sufficiently address the unique needs of historic covered bridge owners. This study will develop a best practices guide specifically for historic covered bridges. The developed guide will provide bridge owners with the tools to design and implement a cost-effective security system that is somewhat site dependent. Specific items that will be addressed include the use of signage, lighting, fire suppressant systems, and automated technologies, including intrusion detection systems. In addition, it is envisioned that gaps in available methods and research needs will be identified.
The objective is to develop a best practices guide for arson prevention especially suited for historic covered bridges.