2 votes

Watts Mill Bridge


File:Watts Mill Bridge1.JPG

Photo taken by Mvincec

View this photo at en.m.wikipedia.org

BH Photo #276587



Continuous two-span pony truss bridge over Little Beaver Creek on Watts Mill Road
Beaver County, Pennsylvania
Will be removed and restored by Workin' Bridges / BACH Steel under interim ownersip contract. Beaver County will be final owner.
Built 1878 by the Penn Bridge Co.
- Penn Bridge Co. of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
Continuous Pratt pony truss
Total length: 108.9 ft.
Deck width: 15.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 22, 1988
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.79055, -80.49386   (decimal degrees)
40°47'26" N, 80°29'38" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/542701/4515629 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
New Galilee
Average daily traffic (as of 2016)
Inventory numbers
PA 04 4009 0060 0000 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
NRHP 88000868 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
PANBI 03740 (Pennsylvania BRKEY bridge number on the 2011 NBI)
BH 30368 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of October 2016)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 15.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • June 11, 2018: Updated by Nathan Holth: Adjusted builder name to Penn Bridge Co.
  • September 15, 2016: Updated by Clark Vance: Added categories "Wrought Iron", "Pin-connected"
  • March 2, 2014: Photo imported by Dave King


Watts Mill Bridge
Posted October 29, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

In-kind restoration differs from rehab in our work. The funds, up to 500k, reflect that our expertises can do this work for about 1/3 less than engineer's estimates. We spent the last four months figuring out real costs for restoration of this rare Penn Bridge Co. structure, making choices with a group of interested locals who started in January trying to figure it out. We were asked to step in and see what we could do in June. Our goals then, fund a site visit and work on final ownership by the county who found that insurances, inspections and maintenance were not a big financial risk. What sealed it was bridgehunter research that showed so few Penn bridges left in Beaver County, we offered to bundle with Fallston....no doubt that bridge is next but this one is almost contracted. Visit the notary today. It wasn't easy, none of them are, but our industry partners, Bach and SGI, know what they are doing.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted October 27, 2018, by Dana and Kay Klein

Dave AWSOME news. Thanks for saving!

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted October 27, 2018, by Dave Holoweiko (dholoweiko [at] gmail [dot] com)

just wanted to let everyone know the old girl has been saved through lots of hard work by many people. Workin bridges purchased it at auction it will be taken apart and shipped to Bach Steel and rehabbed brought back in the spring and put back in place and opened as a pedestrian bridge with Penndot covering rehab costs and Beaver County taking ownership. Thanks to everyone involved we saved this historic bridge.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted June 11, 2018, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

For now I simply renamed this bridge's builder from "West Penn Bridge Co" to "Penn Bridge Co." In reality I suspect there is some cleanup that needs to be done, as any bridge built before 1887 was technically part of a company formally organized as "Timothy B. White & Sons Company", often listed as "T. B. White and Sons of New Brighton, Pennsylvania", and often branded in literature and builder plaques as "Penn Bridge Works" with the company becoming "Penn Bridge Company in 1887. Yet just like King Iron Bridge Company and King Bridge Company, these are all the same people/company.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted June 6, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Center post encased in concrete. Overall good shape except for the damn roadway...grated decking goes, stringers go .....

Attachment #1 (video/mp4; 255,267,061 bytes)

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Watts Mill Bridge
Posted June 6, 2018, by Dana and Kay Klein

Julie thanks! glad to see this may find a care taker.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted June 6, 2018, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

We got the call. Headed there today and a meeting tomorrow. So sure you can google Bach but getting these bridges thru bureaucracy has to happen before Nels and the Gang can work on them.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted November 18, 2017, by wondering

..............Bridge update?.......

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 27, 2017, by Dave Holoweiko (egnatz1 [at] aol [dot] com)

Updates on Watts Mill There is a meeting tomorrow between our state Rep and Penndot . Will know more then. But we have many groups on board to save the old girl. State Rep is a member of our historical society and is all for trying to save the bridge. Hopefully we can come to some resolution that does not include demolition.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 26, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Dave any updates? State Rep helpful?

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 20, 2017, by Art S (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


If the intent is to reopen the crossing for vehicular use, there are three options:

1)The bridge can be restored to its original specifications. This would be adequate for cars but will likely not be deemed a practical solution.

2)the new crossing could be located up or down stream of the old bridge allowing it to be preserved in place - the lowest cost / best historic integrity option from a preservation perspective. However, this adds potential complications and cost to the new bridge that the governmental agencies will try to avoid.

2) The alternative is to relocate the bridge. This reduces the historical context and adds cost/complexity but ensures the bridge will be preserved (the old Meadville, PA Mead Ave. Bridge is an ongoing example of this).

If there is no intention of opening the crossing to vehicular traffic and converting this to a pedestrian crossing is desired by all, then things get a lot easier.

What help are you seeking?


Art S.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 19, 2017, by Dave Holoweiko (egnatz1 [at] aol [dot] com)

Yes made by Penn bridge in Beaver Falls . We have the plate from the bridge in our collection at our museum will have to find it. The bridge will never be opened to traffic again and will not be rebuilt if torn down .However we are hoping it can be repaired enough to use as a pedestrian bridge as the North Country trail runs right by this site and has many users. We are getting all the local history organizations involved and have the local state rep on our side to save it. hopefully the state will see that tearing it down is not the answer.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 19, 2017, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Could the builder be TB White & Sons (Penn Bridge Works) which moved from New Brighton to Beaver Falls, PA in 1878?


Is there a group of local citizens willing to work towards preservation? If the bridge was restored, how would it be used?


Art S.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 19, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Dave if you are near this bridge some photographs might help. I am not an engineer but know 2 things that are issues with old bridges. In layman's language look for pieces that are corroded so that there full original dimension has changed. Also look where two pieces plates parts etc meet. Is there rust in between these pieces? Those with knowledge on here call this section loss and pack rust. They are NOT a death sentence to a bridge but would impact any restoration. Your mission, photos, just use phone if need be , post on this forum.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 19, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

If for some reason you haven't heard of them google Bach Steel...............

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 19, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Keep us in the loop!

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 19, 2017, by Dave Holoweiko (egnatz1 [at] aol [dot] com)

the bridge has been closed to traffic for years . But we can't let them take this one down . It is one of the last bridges left built by the West Penn Bridge company. I was just informed that our local state Rep will be meeting the Department of transportation in the coming week to discuss options how we can save the old girl.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 19, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nice! A continuous pony truss - and a very old one at that! I would hate to see this one disappear. It is quite the rarity, I would think.

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted March 19, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

NRHP listed ! Dave not sure how to help but don't let this bridge disappear! Sure some of the more knowledgeable bridge savers in PA could give guidance . SAVE THAT BRIDGE!

Watts Mill Bridge
Posted August 9, 2014, by Jeff (jeff [dot] zader [at] yahoo [dot] com)

FYI...This bridge is closed. There is no work or replacement going on at this time.