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Hamden Road Bridge


Coming south on Hamden Rd. Notice that one span goes uphill and the other one is level

Photo taken by Andrew Pearce in July 2012


BH Photo #237599



see also http://www.historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowse...

"The bridge carries one lane of rural Hamden Road (River Road) over the South Branch of the Raritan River. It is located on a sharp curve of an unimproved, lightly traveled road that parallels the river. The surrounding area has scattered 19th-century farm houses. The bridge enjoys integrity of setting."

"The 2-span pin-connected Pratt pony truss bridge built in 1885 uses patented Phoenix columns for the end posts and top chord. The cast footing bearings on ashlar abutments and pier appear unaltered. The outriggers are part of the original design. The bridge is in a nearly complete state of preservation with no apparent welded repairs or alterations. One of the better preserved Phoenix column pony truss spans in the state, it is the only known multi-span example."

"BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hunterdon County Engineer's Office, Bridge card F 65. Waddell, J.A.L. Bridge Engineering. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,1925. Darnell, Victor C. A Directory of American Bridge-Building Companies, 1840-1900. Washington, D.C.: Society for Industrial Archeology, 1984. Hagely Museum & Library. Phoenix Bridge Co. records. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The two-span, cast- and wrought-iron pin-connected Pratt pony truss bridge survives in a remarkably complete state of preservation. The trusses and floor beams are original and unaltered. Each five panel truss consists of Phoenix column section top chords and inclined end posts. All of the truss verticals are built up from a pair of angles with lacing rather than Phoenix sections. The pins at both the top and bottom of the verticals pass through the gusset plates. Because the verticals are not Phoenix sections, the cast connecting pieces at the intermediate chord panel points are not needed. At these locations, the pins pass through the walls of the Phoenix section. Castings are present at the top chord/end post connections and the bottom chord/end post connection, or feet. The expansion bearing feet sit on nested rollers, a standard period detail. The bottom chord consists of round-headed eyebars. The principal diagonals consist of needle-headed eyebars. The counters are rods which thread into devises at both ends which pass around the pins. The floor beams are built up from a web plate with four riveted flange angles. The two top flange angles extend out to form part of the knee brace at each vertical. The floor beams hang from the bottom chord pins on U suspenders. All bridge components are stamped with the order number. The spans bear on stone abutments and a mid-stream pier. HISTORICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The well-preserved 2-span 1885 pony truss bridge is historically and technologically significant as an example of the a Dean & Westbrook built Phoenix- section bridge (criterion C). The use of the Phoenix section without all of the castings at the nodes (panel points), as in this truss design, represents a transitional stage where the Phoenix truss system was being simplified to be competitive with "standard" pin connected trusses of built-up members.

The bridge is one of four Phoenix-section pony truss spans in the state.

The patented Phoenix column, developed in 1864 by David Reeves of the Phoenix Iron Company at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, "was a great factor causing the substitution of wrought iron for cast iron in compression members of pin-connected bridges," according to noted engineer and author J.A.L. Waddell. It enjoyed tremendous popularity in the 1870s and 1880s, and was one of the most important details in the general acceptance of metal truss bridge technology in those decades. In the earliest days, Phoenix-section bridges were designed by, marketed by, and erected by the Clarke, Reeves Company, a separate company with some of the same owners as the Phoenix Iron Company. They primarily built railroad bridges. In 1884 Clarke, Reeves & Company was reorganized as the Phoenix Bridge Company, and in 1885 it entered into an agreement with Dean & Westbrook of New York City for the marketing and erection of highway bridges with Phoenix-section compression members. The agreement was in effect until 1895. After that date few metal truss bridges with Phoenix sections were built. Dean & Westbrook built at least 70 bridges with Phoenix sections in New Jersey, and about 10 survive.

The bridge is the only documented 2-span Phoenix column span in the state. It enjoys integrity of design and setting.

NJDOT updated data 03-01-2001."

see: http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/works/environment/pdf/...


two span pin connected Pratt pony truss bridge with Phoenix columns over South Branch Raritan River on Hamden Road
Hunterdon County, New Jersey
Open to traffic
Built 1885; rehabilitated 1993
- Dean & Westbrook of New York, New York
Pratt pony truss built with Phoenix column end posts and top chords
Length of largest span: 80.1 ft.
Total length: 162.1 ft.
Deck width: 14.8 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.59639, -74.89806   (decimal degrees)
40°35'47" N, 74°53'53" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/508625/4493958 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
Inventory numbers
NJ 10XXF65 (New Jersey bridge number)
BH 25259 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of April 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 15 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • July 18, 2020: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • August 18, 2012: Updated by Andrew Pearce: added county data and link
  • August 15, 2012: Updated by Andrew Pearce: Added categories "Pin-connected", "Phoenix columns"