Such bridges are found in rural areas throughout the United States and Canada, but are often threatened by arsonists, vandals, and flooding. They are also common around eastern Canada and in the United States in places such as Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Parke County, Indiana. Parts of Ohio, Michigan, Oregon, Kentucky, and the New England states also have surviving covered bridges.
Famous covered bridges include the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy which is one of only three over the Canal Grande and a popular tourist attraction. Opened on July 4, 1901, the 1,282 foot (390 meter) covered bridge crossing the St.John River at Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada, is the longest covered bridge in the world. It is a Canadian National Historic Site. There are a lot of covered bridges, called Wind and Rain Bridges in the Chinese province of Guizhou. These were traditionally built by the Dong minority people.
Covered bridges are generally considered old-fashioned, and appeal to tourists, but the purpose is simple: to build a structure for weather protection over the working part of the bridge.
Modern covered bridges are usually for pedestrians, for example to walk from one part of an office building to another part, to cross railway tracks at a station, or in a shopping center on an elevated level, crossing a road. See also skyway.
Covered bridges received much recognition as a result of the success of the novel, Bridges of Madison County written by Robert James Waller and made into a Hollywood motion picture starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.