1 vote

PWB - Susquehanna River Bridge


Lost truss bridge over Susquehanna River on Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad
Havre de Grace, Harford County, Maryland, and Cecil County, Maryland
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1866, replaced in stages through the 1870s by an iron truss structure on the same footings
- George A. Parker (Design Engineer)
- Nichols Montgomery Powers
- Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad (PWB)
Twelve 250-foot spans Howe through truss with arch; center swing span of 176 feet
Length of largest span: 250.0 ft.
Total length: 3,269.0 ft. (0.6 mi.)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.55334, -76.08820   (decimal degrees)
39°33'12" N, 76°05'18" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/406507/4378749 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Havre De Grace
Inventory number
BH 61510 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 11, 2014: Updated by Will Truax: Added builders
  • August 7, 2014: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Added/corrected details
  • June 25, 2014: Added by Luke Harden

Related Bridges 


  • Luke
  • Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • Will Truax - Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com


PWB Railroad Bridge
Posted August 7, 2014, by Alexander D. Mitchell IV

Additional information added from PRR Triumph VI by Roberts & Messer (2003)

PWB Railroad Bridge
Posted June 30, 2014, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] ymail [dot] com)

Part of the reason tracking down information on this span is a bit of a challenge is that there is a second set of piers that share these construction details, which share the same adjacency to the current Amtrak Susquehanna River Bridge - One set over the River followed by a pair over the Chesapeake just downstream, I believe the like and also empty set over the bay originally carried the PW&B 1880 span pictured in your reply.

I spent eight months in the area on a bridge restoration but ten miles away (it was seeing the empty piers which began this in depth look) and got to know a number of area historians, and was told of the re-purposing then.

All that said, and I could have been told wrong. I have found contradictions aplenty. In part the hard to churn up aspect of this story is about confused information over two different nearby bridges. In part it is hard to believe the the PW&B would replace a two million dollar investment in less the fifteen years, could they have reached payback in that short span of time?

PWB Railroad Bridge
Posted June 30, 2014, by Luke Harden

I don't mind the edit, but isn't it correct that all of the wooden spans were replaced with iron in the 70s?

I'd found a image from the historical society that seems to confirm that they were, but I could be in error.

PWB Railroad Bridge
Posted June 30, 2014, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] aol [dot] com)

Luke -

I hope you don't mind if I edit the add. I have for some while been working to amass enough information to add it to this database.

I'm tossing a heads up because my edit would not just add information such as number of spans (13 @ '250 plus a Drawspan of '176 for a total of '3500) and the involvement of Parker & Powers, but would need to discuss the fact that this bridge had a service life far in excess of a single decade, and was not lost until the 30's - It was even re-purposed (after it was replaced by the adjacent and still in service'06 Iron Howe) in 1910 for vehicular use with ramp access' and floor beams and railings added in '27 for an additional travel lane, so it served as both a Through & Deck truss - One way travel in opposing directions.

Some background here > http://bridgewright.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/lost-to-evermor...