Why were some of the early bridges in the United States covered?

   Covered bridges once dotted the American countryside from the Atlantic Coast to the Ohio River. The bridges looked like square tunnels with peaked roofs. Some people claim that the bridges were cov­ered so that horses would not be frightened by the water underneath. Others say that they were built as a shelter for travelers in faad weather. Actually the coverings were designed to protect the wooden framework and fiooring of the bridges and keep them from rotting. The pitched roofs, which shed snow, also reduced the amount of heavy snow that collected on the bridges. Wooden bridges became obsolete as traffic loads increased and modern trucks grew in size. Today only a few are still stand-ing. Many people work to preserve the remaining covered bridges.