GRATIS — Covered bridge aficionados can once again enjoy one of Preble County’s monuments to the past: the Brubaker Covered Bridge is open and ready for traffic.
The right type of traffic, that is.
A semi driver got his truck and trailer stuck inside, and severely damaged the historic Brubaker Covered Bridge when he attempted to drive through it on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Since then, the bridge had been closed as repairs were being made.
“It was a huge deal when it closed,” Preble County Engineer Kyle Cross said. “It has been nothing but praise since reopening and I think more so for the heritage of our county than the convenience it provides. I said it could be rebuilt and we would. Now I can say we did it.”
The 88-foot Brubaker Bridge was built in 1887 on what is now Brubaker Road. It is located one mile northwest of Gratis near the Preble County Historical Society. The bridge was renovated in 2006. Brubaker is the oldest covered bridge in the county that’s on an active roadway you can physically drive through.
After the crash, Cross said the driver was “relatively inexperienced truck driver, who was following his GPS and he went down a road that he shouldn’t have been on. “Obviously, there were postings as far as the weight and the opening of the bridge. Other than him saying that his GPS told him to go this way, I don’t know why he would have tried to go down that road. Long before you get to that covered bridge, driving a semi, you’d really question what you were doing on that road in the first place.”
Insurance helped with the repair costs. Beyond the transportation company’s insurance, the county has additional insurance policies on the county’s covered bridges for cases like this one.
Brubaker and Preble County’s other covered bridges are a major tourist attraction for families and groups from across the country and even world.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on X (formerly Twitter) @emowenjr.