The Washington County Division of Engineering announced on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Poffenberger Road will reopen to the public by 4:00 p.m. The road was closed for the rehabilitation of two existing stone arch bridges crossing the Antietam Creek, as well as minor roadway work at the bridge locations.
The two historic stone-arch bridges were rehabilitated by Building Systems through a project that begin in Spring 2019. A detour was set up that included Sharpsburg Pike, Wagaman Road and Garis Shop Road.
Building Systems had the lowest of three bids. The next highest bid was for almost $2 million.
The work included rebuilding the spandrel walls using existing stone and new mortar to repoint the joints. The bridges’ road surfaces were also repaved.
Soil fill over the arches was replaced with lightweight concrete and steel reinforcing to strengthen the one-lane bridges.
The single-span stone-arch bridge is Claggett’s Mill Race Bridge and is estimated to have been built around 1841, according to a 1994 Maryland Historical Trust document. The race bridge was built to cross the millrace.
The three-span stone-arch bridge is Claggett’s Mill Bridge, which was built in 1840. This was the seventh bridge built by John Weaver in the county. It is unknown who built the race bridge, but the historical trust document said it probably was Weaver.
A 1975 county historical sites survey states that Weaver built Claggett’s Mill Bridge for $2,800.
Claggett’s Mill, also known as Emmert’s Mill, used to be south of the bridges on the west side of the creek. The mill operated during the late 18th century and the 19th century.
Both bridges were last reconstructed and/or restored in 1979, though it wasn’t known to what degree the bridges were altered from their original condition, according to the historical trust document.