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French Creek Bridge

Map 

Description 

From the Pennsylvania Historic Bridge Inventory:

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a sparsely developed setting adjacent to Warwick County Park, a recreational greenspace with playground and nature trails. No buildings are adjacent to the bridge. The road serves as a park access road, but is on an older right-of-way in existence before the park.

The 3 span, 54'-long bridge built in 1915 consists of an approximately 44'-long steel thru girder span with rolled floorbeams and open steel grid deck over the stream flanked by 5'-long stone arch overflow spans. The bridge is supported on a stone substructure. Fieldstone wingwalls with parapets enclose the approach roadways. Incorporated with the wingwalls are the short stone arch overflow spans. Thru girder bridges are a very common bridge type in widespread use from the late 19th century through the mid 20th century. This example has no technologically unusual or noteworthy features, and incorporates details, such as the stone arch overflow spans and wingwalls, that are very typical of bridges designed by Chester County Engineer Nathan R. Rambo from 1899 to 1922. The bridge is not significant in the state context, and earlier prototypical examples have been chosen to represent the bridge type's significance in the county context. The bridge is not historically significant in association with its setting.

Engineer: NATHAN R. RAMBO, CO ENG Contractor: MORRIS KNAUER

Facts 

Overview
Pony plate girder bridge over French Creek on County Park Road
Location
Chester County, Pennsylvania
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1915; rehabilitated 1978
Builders
- Morris Knauer (Contractor)
- Nathan R. Rambo (County Engineer)
Design
Pony plate girder
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 49.9 ft.
Total length: 87.9 ft.
Deck width: 17.4 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.16998, -75.72543   (decimal degrees)
40°10'12" N, 75°43'32" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/438231/4446875 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Pottstown
Inventory numbers
PA 15 7015 0452 0259 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
PANBI 10697 (Pennsylvania BRKEY bridge number on the 2011 NBI)
BH 49609 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 08/2008)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Appraisal: Functionally obsolete
Sufficiency rating: 45.9 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2008)
380

Categories 

Arch (11,155)
Built 1915 (1,129)
Built during 1910s (8,717)
Chester County, Pennsylvania (139)
Deck arch (10,399)
Functionally obsolete (7,946)
Girder (7,873)
Morris Knauer (1)
Nathan R. Rambo (2)
Open (36,411)
Owned by county (18,808)
Park (270)
Pennsylvania (4,047)
Plate girder (6,057)
Span length 25-50 feet (13,483)
Steel grate deck (430)
Stone arch (2,637)
Through girder (2,910)
Total length 75-100 feet (5,900)

Update Log 

  • July 20, 2014: New photos from Patrick S. O'Donnell
  • September 14, 2011: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added Historic Bridge Inventory Data
  • September 14, 2011: Added by James McCray

Sources 

  • James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Nathan Holth
  • Patrick S. O'Donnell - 1 [dot] 991km [at] comcast [dot] net

Comments 

French Creek Bridge
Posted September 15, 2011, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Very unique...

French Creek Bridge
Posted September 14, 2011, by Nathan Holth

James,

Chester County is noted for its large collection of highway plate girder bridges that were designed by county engineer Nathan Rambo. Rambo seems to have done a lot of bridge building since many county bridges remaining today are associated with him. He was unusual for building stone arch bridges into the early 20th Century. He also delineated plate girders (often with stone abutments instead of concrete more common for the period, showing his continuing preference for stone). The bridge you found is one of at least two surviving bridges Rambo designed that display both of his favorites. It has a plate girder main span and two tiny stone arch spans integrated into the abutments. It is likely very similar to the bridge I have on file here:

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

I will also add Historic Bridge Inventory data for this bridge you found for your interest.

French Creek Bridge
Posted September 14, 2011, by James McCray (jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Ok need help here.......found this bridge on google earth.....looks interesting, but could not make out details. Found on NBI and it was built in 1915. Could not get a street view so I can not make it out. Any help would be appreciated.