Nearly 100 years after it was built, the historic Bob White Covered Bridge in Woolwine was destroyed by flooding Tuesday.
While the Bob White bridge was completely destroyed, Patrick County Administrator Tom Rose said that the Jack’s Creek Covered Bridge, which is within about a mile of the Bob White bridge, survived the floodwaters caused by recent heavy rains.
According to the website bridgehunter.com, the 80-foot bridge, which crossed the Smith River, was built in 1921 by Walter Weaver and posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 22, 1973. According to visitpatrickcounty.org, it was one of only seven public covered bridges in the entire state.
Rose said that the county recently had received approval from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to restore the bridge, which was beginning to shift slightly and was not safe for vehicles heavier than a horse-drawn carriage.
“I’m going to talk to VDOT (about) the travel enhancement funds and see what, if anything, we can possibly do,” Rose said, whether that included restoration or the construction of a new covered bridge at the site. “I don’t think they’re going to let us, but it’s worth asking the question, because we had been awarded the funding.”
Rose said that it is his understanding that the money awarded to restore the Bob White Covered Bridge was to be the last money awarded for covered bridge restoration in the state of Virginia.
“It’s just tragic,” Rose said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Rose said that it is too early to say exactly how the destruction of the Bob White Covered Bridge will affect the annual Virginia Covered Bridge Festival in Patrick County, which generally takes place in June.