Why were bridges covered back in the 1800's?

Cause horses don't come with roofs. ~
a refuge from the elements
I think they were made of wood and covering kept them from rotting as fast.
they were made of wood and rain water would rot them and then they could colapse...
To protect the trusses from exposure to the elements.
Covered bridges were built to protect the bridge supports from the elements.

Many uncovered bridges collapsed from rotting out of the bridge supports. Also it was very expensive to replace the supports when they were caught by an inspection before a collapse.
By covering the bridge, the supports lasted much longer, as evidenced by the fact that many of them are still standing today.
The covering also served a secondary purpose. Many horses were very skittish about crossing bridges, and when the bridges were covered it was easier to coax a team of horses across.
The two main reasons were:
1. To protect wood bridges from exposure to the elements which would reduce the life of the bridge.
2. To keep the bridge clear of snow (in colder climates) (Many bridges and mountain passes are still built with roofs today to keep them clear of snow)

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