The simple answer is that modern engineers are tasked with finding the best route across a body of water before they build a new bridge. But, more interestingly, modern engineers sometimes get lucky and don’t have to create a completely new spot for a bridge to go. Sometimes, a crossing has a bit of a history, as in the case of the Opequon Ford located on Rt. 7.
The Virginia Highway and Transportation Research Council, a division of VDoT, lists a place known as “Opeckon Ford” as early as 1762 in “Frederick County Road Orders 1743-1772.” This just so happens to be in the area near the modern-day Rt. 7 bridge!
More than a century later (143 years later, to be exact), The Ford is still being actively used by people needing to cross the Opequon Creek (photographed above).
The Ford, being as traveled as it was, proved an excellent place for the modern Rt. 7 bridge. In fact, Rt. 7 itself has as long a history as the Berryville Pike, and predates the modern paved version (pictured below).
While I’m sure this The Ford is catching a completely different kind of traffic pattern than it did in 1743, it really makes you think about your morning commute a little differently.
Melanie is the current archivist for the Clarke County Historical Association, in Berryville, Virginia. She is a graduate from Shepherd University, where she earned a degree in History.