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Mortonville Bridge

Photos 

Elevation

Photo From National Register Nomination

BH Photo #170034

Map 

Street View 

Description 

From the group that saved the bridge: http://www.save41.org/beyond.htm The Mortonville Bridge is a 230' four-span, closed spandrel stone arch bridge carrying Strasburg Road over the West Branch of the Brandywine Creek. It was built in 1826 by Wilson Buffington and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing element of the Strasburg Road Thematic Group. It retains high integrity of design, materials and workmanship as an early example of masonry arch bridge technology in Chester County and is one of the County's oldest stone arch bridges in continuous use. Like many historic bridges throughout the Commonwealth, the Mortonville Bridge is a community landmark. It is well known to area residents and daily travelers of Strasburg Road, helping to establish the rural character of the existing historic roadway with its twists, turns and winding, hilly nature with essentially nonexistent shoulders. Average daily traffic counts in 2001 were approximately 4,350 vehicles. Although the width of the historic bridge and its curved approaches may not conform to modern engineering standards, they serve as physical traffic calming devices, encouraging drivers to slow down, drive courteously and obey the posted speed limits. Federal Highway Administration guidelines do allow flexibility in design when improvements to an historic bridge are being contemplated

Off and on for two decades, PennDOT developed and proposed plans to bypass the bridge with a new, wider modern structure. Meanwhile, the Mortonville Bridge went largely neglected and, once the new bridge was built, its fate would be uncertain. PennDOT suggested the bridge could become a pedestrian bridge and offered it through its Adopt-A-Bridge Program, but had no takers. So, in all likelihood the historic bridge would become "demolished by neglect."

Following nomination of the Mortonville bridge as a case study highlighting the threat to many historic bridges throughout the Commonwealth to Preservation Pennsylvania's 2005 Endangered Historic Resources List, PennDOT announced that the Mortonville Bridge would instead receive a "substantial rehabilitation" including a widening of up to 4 feet. Nearby residents and East Fallowfield Township representatives are thrilled with this announcement, as to them the bridge is a historic part of their community, acts as a traffic calming feature along Strasburg Road, and the alternative of new bridge construction would have significant, undesirable environmental and community impacts.

Even though PennDOT's pledge to rehab the bridge had been made, in late 2005, Preservation Pennsylvania accepted the nomination of the Mortonville Bridge to its 2005 Endangered list in order to draw attention to the issues that potentially affect other historic bridges across the state.

Facts 

Overview
Stone arch bridge over West Branch Brandywine Creek on Strasburg Road
Location
Chester County, Pennsylvania
Status
Open to traffic. Reconstructed as a wider bridge, retaining the stone.
History
Built 1826. Reconstructed 2009.
Design
Four span stone arch
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 60.0 ft.
Total length: 195.9 ft.
Deck width: 17.7 ft.
Also called
Strasburg Road Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.94622, -75.77888   (decimal degrees)
39°56'46" N, 75°46'44" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/433462/4422078 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Coatesville
Inventory numbers
PA 15 3062 0140 0245 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
NRHP 85002392 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 30690 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 10/2007)
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 5.0 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2008)
6,153

Update Log 

  • March 2, 2014: Updated by Dave King: Added street view & imported photo
  • December 26, 2010: New photo from Jodi Christman
  • November 20, 2010: Updated by Jodi Christman: Added description info.
  • July 23, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: Updated status, name, and type.

Sources 

Comments 

Mortonville Bridge
Posted July 23, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I recieved information that this bridge is to be de-listed from the National Register of Historic Places, suggesting that the recent so-called rehabilitation project was more of a demolish, replace then decorate the replacement bridge with stones from the historic bridge sort of deal.

PENNSYLVANIA, CHESTER COUNTY,

Mortonville Bridge,

Straburg Rd.,

Coatesville vicinity, 85002392,

REMOVED, 7/16/10

(Strasburg Road TR;East Fallowfield Township MRA)