Burr Truss

The Burr Arch Truss—or, simply, Burr Truss or Burr Arch—is a combination of an arch and a multiple kingpost truss design. It was invented in 1804 by Theodore Burr,[1] patented on April 3, 1817,[2] and used in bridges, usually covered bridges.[3][4]

Burr bridge
Interior structure of a covered bridge utilizing a kingpost with a Burr Arch structure
Interior structure of a covered bridge utilizing a kingpost with a Burr Arch structure
AncestorTruss bridge, kingpost bridge
CarriesPedestrians, livestock, vehicles
Span rangeShort to medium
MaterialWood planks
Design effortmedium


The design principle behind the Burr arch truss is that the arch should be capable of bearing the entire load on the bridge while the truss keeps the bridge rigid. Even though the kingpost truss alone is capable of bearing a load, this was done because it is impossible to evenly balance a dynamic load crossing the bridge between the two parts.[5] The opposite view is also held, based on computer models, that the truss performs the majority of the load bearing and the arch provides the stability.[1] Either way, the combination of the arch and the truss provides a more stable bridge capable of supporting greater weight than either the arch or truss alone.


The U.S. state of Indiana has a large collection of Burr Truss bridges. Of its 92 extant bridges, 53 are Burr Trusses, many of which reside in Parke County.

Design specificationEdit

Deer Mills Covered Bridge, Montgomery County, Indiana


  1. ^ a b "The Burr Truss". Truss Styles of Covered Bridges. New York State Covered Bridge Society. January 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-09-08. Retrieved 2006-09-15.
  2. ^ "Publication Number: X0002769". Publication Images. United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved 2006-09-15.
  3. ^ "Truss Types". Covered Bridge Truss Types. Ohio Department of Transportation Office of Structural Engineering. Archived from the original on 2006-09-04. Retrieved 2006-09-15.
  4. ^ "Truss Types". The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of PA, Inc. Retrieved 2006-07-28.
  5. ^ Calvert, J. B. (2000-10-23). "The Burr Truss". Archived from the original on 2006-08-03. Retrieved 2006-07-28.

External linksEdit