Scratchbuilding the Ohio River Bridge

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Duration: 2:37

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When Rick Rideout modeled the Ohio River Bridge on his L&N Henderson Subdivision, he photographed and made drawings from his observations of the real bridge. The actual Ohio River Bridge spans five lengths, but Rideout has only ten feet on the main span and an additional ten to twelve feet for the approach to work with. He had to condense the bridge on his model to consist of only three spans.

The bridge’s piers on Rideout’s layout are made from two by fours wrapped with 5,000 styrene to give the poured concrete piers their concrete look. The wood pieces are wrapped around the edges with the styrene and secured using Walther’s Goo. When it came to scratch building most of the bridge, Rideout had to determine how to achieve its lengthy curve. The bridge was made with a wooden core that is tongue and grooved at a five degree angle. This creates a ten degree angle change for the curve to laminate the girders up against. Using Central Valley bridge kits, Rideout cut the stringers to make them only three plates long, and built the girder section off of them. He then configured the bridge pieces and determined their assembly by laying them on his drawing of the real Ohio River Bridge.