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.
I did take a walk over and around this bridge on 3-25-17.Most of the work I saw was being done on the sides of the bridge.The parapets as you call them are still on the bridge.Don't know when or what they will do with them.The arches are not being worked on as of yet.The railing on the outbound side has been removed.Hopefully it is replaced with a matching railing of the one that was there originally.Also the sidewalk is being worked on from what I saw.It is closed off to pedestrians at this time.As for the inbound side I can tell you the railing will be removed and the sidewalk replaced because I was able to see the street that runs underneath due to the holes through the sidewalk and railing.I also was able to look underneath the outbound side because they cut a hole so they could check the approach beams on that side.When I get more information I will probably take a stroll down and check it out.
Dave any updates? State Rep helpful?
As per an article printed in todays Reading Eagle 3-25-17 the $42 million rebuild of this bridge has already started but no deck work as of yet.This project will be fully undertaken once the Buttonwood Street Bridge is reopened which because of a snowstorm that we had pushed the opening back to 4-14-17.I am planning on taking a look at the work so far performed on this bridge maybe later today or tomorrow being Sunday.Curious as to what they've done so far on the West Reading side.I have posted some work that was done on the Reading side.The picture i did see showed a platform being built under the far arch on the West Reading side.
Yes, the bridge and crossing can be improved to hold those weights. The question as to whether they are willing to do that rather than demolish and replace the bridge is another story.
All information relating to the ongoing Section 106 Review (including my own personal comments) is in the public record and may be viewed on Project PATH by downloading the postings at the bottom of the page here https://search.paprojectpath.org/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project...
Just read the article.Art,can that bridge be strengthened to carry that higher weight limit?
Thanks for the essay Sherman Cahal. I grew up not far from there and passed it about 100,000 times in my youth.
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?
As per an article printed in the Reading Eagle on 3-20-17 Berks County commissioners are working with Bethel and Tulpehocken townships to preserve this bridge.Damage to the wingwalls is a concern but what is really damaging this bridge is the idiots who drive construction equipment and tractor-trailers over this bridge which isn't rated weightwise for this bridge.Outside of posting signs,wouldn't a headache bar be a good idea to keep the heavy trucks off of these bridges?
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.
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?
Another interesting structure with a junction joining on the bridge. One of my favorite parts of my Pittsburgh Mainlines DVD.
I got a DVD of railroad action in Pittsburgh in the days prior to the combined NS/CSX takeover of Conrail and this bridge was featured early on in the DVD.
Interesting bridge as the rails are recessed into the girder structure. I can't figure out why it was designed that way in the first place, but it makes for an interesting video seeing the trains look like they are sinking.
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.
If for some reason you haven't heard of them google Bach Steel...............
Keep us in the loop!
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.
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.
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!
Just saw a video on You-Tube about this tunnel.Very informative and the people did not go in it.Tunnel entrance wasn't too big.
I watched a video on you-tube last night about an abandoned tunnel called the Shuman tunnel which is on an abandoned right of way.After the video showing the people going through the tunnel and back to where they started and as they were leaving they crossed this bridge.This video was filmed 5 months ago and the people tried to say it was Longbottom Rd,not Long Hollow Rd to maybe throw people off.Not me though.As for the tunnel it looked to be in great shape and should be on Bridgehunters.
Aldo,i have a question.While watching the video the person talking mentioned a Market St bridge that you can see in the video.Is that the one over the Monongahela on bridge st?
Aldo,i have a question.While watching the video the person talking mentioned a Market St bridge that you can see in the video.Is that the over the Monongahela on bridge st?
Aldo,just saw the video on this tunnel on you-tube and have to agree.Looks like a lost cause trying to go in this one.Of course it doesn't hurt to hunt for other tunnels and bridges while in this area that might not be on bridgehunters.
Thanks for the information,Matt.Good to know it's still there.
Nathan, very cool!
PennDOT is working to develop a historic truss bridge management plan and these bridges are part of it. I am hopeful that this management plan will be a foundation toward an effort of preserving these bridges. I was previously unaware that all of these bridges (aside from Walp Road which I knew about) were Phoenix bridges. So I added a photo for each from the report, mainly for the benefit of myself and others who may wish to prioritize visiting these bridges above other bridges in the area.
I have no doubt that many of the dates given are incorrect. I would assume all to be pre-1900.
Adding six (6) still extant Phoenix Column bridges to this database in one day is quite a feat! Is there a back story?
Nathan, Impressive find!!
Nathan, in light of your photo, the 1910 build date seems unlikely.
This bridge was still there as of 2016. It can be seen in this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q43lwNE_P0c . Today I recalled a visit to this bridge in 2007 and was wondering if it was still there. Took awhile to locate it, but I'm so happy to know its memorialized here.
I forgot to say that if you want to see this video on you-tube it is listed under the caption abandoned Pa railroad tunnels filmed by lakeshoretrains who taped it 8 months ago.
I just saw a video on you-tube of this tunnel and trestle.the tunnel does have some deterioration in and around it but it is passable according to what i saw in the video.As for the trestle the people who were filming only went halfway and decided to go back the way they came.the guy filming did say there is a fenced off tunnel on the other side.Couldn't tell from the video on which side of tunnel they parked on.These people when they did decide to go on the trestle did walk on the ties where the steel beams were underneath.Smart move but still dangerous.I surely don't condone walking on abandoned trestles.
The previous comment on this bridge belongs to me,not the world famous Anonymous.Just a little humor.
Dana and Kay,Luke noticed the bridge.I just can't believe I never saw it.Also I didn't put my name on the post I just put the comment on.Using a smartphone.Not too smart,believe me!
Got it Luke.Funny I never noticed this bridge before in my travels down that road.This bridge must be in good shape being that I haven't heard or read nothing about it in the local paper and I do know that Norfolk/Southern does take care of their rails and bridges.
Good eye Luke! George Berks county is FULL of cool bridges.
Drop a streetview pin on the bridge over Willow Creek just south of here, rotate the view to the west.
You are correct Dana and Kay.This was a replacement bridge which replaced a truss bridge.Don't remember when it was replaced.
You are correct.This was a replacement bridge which replaced a truss bridge.Don't remember when it was replaced.
Dana and Kay,i am not familiar with this bridge but i have been on Cross Keys Rd and see from the gate the railroad has up that this was originally a 2 track rail route.Also i know that this rail route had a name before it became the RBMN.
Dana and Kay,there is a name that this rail line originally had but i can't remember it.I would have to research it and probably by doing that find out where this line ended past Lehigh Cement.
Luke,where do you see a 2 span concrete arch?I've been all over this area and i don't see it on google maps.All of these rail bridges are actually being used so let me know where it is and i can give you information on it. and
Wonder if this was a 1972 Hurricane Agnes casualty?
This one would be worth a site visit!
There's also a two-span concrete arch to the south.
Nice find George, looks like NS it is.
I can tell you Dana and Kay exactly.As you can see if you follow the rail to Lehigh Cement,that is actually as far as i have gone in my travels.I parked at a parking spot next to Peters Creek and hiked in to the rail line which led to Lehigh Cement.I can't say for certain if the rail ends here or goes any further due to the fact i didn't want to get caught trespassing plus very heavy brush and being heavily wooded.This rail is actually active being Lehigh Cement gets rail cars via Norfolk Southern out of their Reading rail yard.I also thought it was abandoned until i saw rail cars there myself.
George street view shows RR underpass right up road from this, any idea what RR this would be?
Douglas shoot me an email. Your mailbox is full.Dana
The bridge remains in disassembled storage. However, when it is restored, it is intended to be erected in NJ. Hopefully it will be ready when you do a bridge tour of eastern PA and western NJ.
I was just wondering how things were going with this bridge. My wife and I are planning to be out in SW Pennsylvania this summer on a bridge tour and would love to add this to our list of bridges to see. Thanks.
Just walked past this bridge on the Reading side on my way back from looking at the Buttonwood street bridge being that today is Saturday the 4th of May 2017.Looking underneath at the approach spans on the Reading side there is alot of deterioration of the concrete which is being repaired as we speak.Also the walkway on the side of this bridge heading towards West Reading is currently closed.As i get more information i will post it here.
Just got back after looking at this bridge being today is Saturday 3-4-17.The south side approach spans were not replaced except for a couple of beams that were deficient.There was alot of cosmetic work done above and around the arches from what i saw.As for up top the deck is being replaced and the sidewalks.The original concrete railings were not replaced as i might have alluded to from yesterdays article.When this bridge is opened i will be able to examine the work that was done more closely being that the bridge is fenced off with no trespassing signs.
As per an article printed in the Reading Eagle on 3-3-17 this bridge might possibly be opened by the end of March instead of mid April as previously disclosed due to the weather.The only project left is to pave the roadway which can hasten reopening the bridge ahead of schedule.I did see from the picture in the paper they did leave up part of the original concrete railings on the bridge.Tomorrow being Saturday i will take a walk to this bridge and see what has been finished so far being that i live near this bridge.I will let you all in on what it looks like from my perspective.
No problem, Dana.
I'll add the Pennsy's bridge over the Reading later.
If you're ever down that way, there appears to be an arch on the old PRR line over the river at that spot, as well as two more arches on a wye at Port Carbon.
Thanks Luke.I thought it was a road bridge,not a rail bridge.That's why i always ask when not sure.
This is the right area, but the bridge was located up the branch to the right, and based on maps from historicearials, it was road, not rail.
Art,i didn't see the rail but what i do notice is a scrap yard right up the road if not very close to this abandoned bridge which i think is ironic,don't you?I was up in Pottsville years ago and never knew this bridge was here.When i do get a chance i will be up this way being that i currently live in Reading which like i said is right down the road.By the way,that's country talk.
If you enlarge the picture, you can see a railroad track/siding on the right hand side of the water just beyond the bridge. To me, this and the heavy duty nature of the bridge suggest it carried a railroad track. Designwise, does the lattice structure suggest Moesely?
Also, if you enlarge the picture, note the very tall vertical endpost Pratt in the background!
The Mt. Carbon bowstring is a typical King, not easy to see from the road or nearby bridges. The postcard is not that but very cool.
The postcard bridge looks to be much more substantial than the bowstring which can be seen quite clearly in Bing maps.
Maybe it's made of wood or something?
Looks likely not sure enough to add but thank you for keen eye!
I wonder if your bridge in the pic might have been where Lord Blvd. (61) crosses the river again just to the North of this location. This would be in Pottsville (probably the outskirts in those days!), also the railroad forks nearby and there are two tracks near the current bridge.
thanks, not sure of loci, railroads may have a clue.
Don't think so... As a matter of fact, this might well be something more special like a Henszey.
any chance this is a view of this bridge? 1909 postcard
Thanks! Sent request to James
This bridge is already listed:
Talk about fracture critical!
We are reaching out to several states to add Heritage Bridges to our roster. The ones that do need to stay in place. More will be revealed but we are adding to the roster of services that we can provide to the DOTs as they manage their historic truss management plans.
1. Action. If we are going to go out and document and provide real numbers we might as well take along a team to clean up the bridge of trees and debris, clean the shoes. Then make it clear other necessary maintenance items.
2. Bridge Brokering - Once we have identified trusses that must be moved then the real numbers come into play, finding other sources of funding for moving onto trails or other crossings.
3. Heritage Bridges - Hayden and Bunker are two that are under ownership. We are always open to being the interim owner between responsible entities but here we are taking these bridges on for the long term, providing an avenue to save them that the DOTS nor SHPO can do.
We'll see if we can figure this out. IF anyone else has interest or ideas along these lines that would be great. We're in this 7 years now, and we just got our land conservancy insurance that allows us to open these bridges for recreational use. The pieces are beginning to come together. The projects are big but
I know you know!
It worth it. Thanks for the tips and tricks along the way.
As per an article on this bridge printed in the Reading Eagle on 2-22-17 engineer Jason Newhard outlined an updated timeline for PennDOT'S Wall Street Bridge replacement.PennDOT is accepting bids starting in April of this year.A pedestrian bridge wide enough for an ATV is tentatively scheduled for construction this summer.Closure of the main bridge may be in September or October.Newhard said everyone will know the actual dates at the preconstruction meeting.Representatives,including members of area municipal governments and involved utility companies will be at the PennDOT meeting late this spring according to Newhard.Sounds like a big project and when i hear or read anything about this bridge ui will pass it on.
Bridge was replaced in 2012. New bridge is shown in image.
The designers did a nice job. They maintained the original look of the bridge.
From what i read i have a bad feeling about the end of this bridge as we know it Robert.Keep up the good work with any news you get on this bridge Robert.
Stone pylons are so much more interesting than concrete ones, but sadly they have been the ruin of many a bridge. Sometimes they stand in a partially collapsed state for years and sometimes they collapse with little warning. At this stage, there are three possibilities: collapse, demolition, or immediate stabilization. The first two options are never fun. As I am fond of saying, nobody wins when a bridge collapses.
As per an article printed in the Reading Eagle on 2-19-17 this bridge will not be rehabilitated.According to this article Montgomery officials approved a $20 million project to demolish and rebuild this bridge which is to start in 2019.The design of the new bridge is expected to be finished this year.The funding for this project is 80% federal,15% state and 5% funded by both Montgomery and Chester counties.I do have this article if anybody has any questions.
Anonymous,this is the bridge i mentioned that was north of the Tilghman Street Viaduct.Thank you for clearing this up.
Apparently the 2nd image is of the predecessor bridge. I'll make the changes when I'm able to access a proper terminal.
Not convinced these 2 photos are of the same structure.There were likely many RR spans in the Allentown area.
I don't know if anyone noticed but there is a 4 span truss between the American Parkway and the Lehigh Valley Thruway north of this bridge.Don't know if this is on Bridgehunters.
Know there is some debate about T Beams being historic but none left in my area where once common. Regardless sounds like this one will be replaced. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
This is the bridge,Dana and Kay.Got some more information on this bridge as per an article printed in the Reading Eagle on 2-17-17.This bridge will be reconstructed with an engineer present while it is being reconstructed.Construction will start in the spring of 2018 for approximately 3 months.The existing span is a 2 span reinforced concrete T-beam structure with an overall length of 68 feet and a clear roadway width of 18 feet(curb to curb)The replacement structure will be a single span pre-stressed concrete spread box beam bridge with an 8" minimum reinforced concrete deck,type 10M concrete bridge barriers,integral abutments and U-wingwalls.The total span length of the structure will be 76 feet and the clear roadway width will be 33 feet(curb to curb),consisting of 2 11 foot traffic lanes,a 3 foot shoulder on the left and an 8 foot shoulder on the right.This is all of the information i have right now.When i get more information i will pass it along.
I have lived near this trestle for the past few years and I've been watching the slow deterioration of the tunnel on the Piney Dam Rd. side due to erosion. As of February 2017 it's still passable, but I fear it's days are numbered. Needless to say, the tunnel should be considered dangerous. I've taken some medium format black and white photos of the deck of the trestle from the most common view. Eventually I'd like to get a photo or two from down at river level.
We are currently doing the underground electrical work under and around the Tilghman St. bridge. A conversation arose today about what the bridge might weigh. Any insight on this matter would be appreciated. Thank you
George not sure if this is bridge or not. 1919 Tbeem. These are disappearing FAST!
Sherman,at the end of the line near Claysville i saw a tunnel via satellite imagery.Might be worth checking out if it's not already on Bridgehunters.
Thanks Sherman.Any news on the future of this bridge?
Thank you! I have not yet completed the accompanying article. There are many more tunnels left to photograph on this route.
Nice find! Photographing tunnels is addictive.
Sherman: Most certainly you are correct, an 1860s metal railroad bridge would have cast iron details and other unique features that would immediately place it in that period. Further, we do know that this style of bridge (despite it being somewhat late for pin connections) was being built around the turn of the century. This Michigan example was dated 1898. http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=tr...
I was leaning on that. The other issue I have with this bridge is that the E&P rebuilt many of their bridges at the turn of the century, like at Wheatland (which itself was rebuilt for two tracks).
The original bridge at Wheatland was wood. I am assuming that this one isn't original to the 1860's but early 1900's.
The bridge is likely the design of the railroad not a builder. The distinctive portal bracing can be found on a number of Pennsylvania Railroad lines, including the Grand Rapids and Indiana line.
Got some good news on this bridge.As per an article printed in thee Reading Eagle on 2-13-17 Preservation paperwork is being filed to protect this bridge.When i get more information i will let you know.
I agree this bridge should be part of a rail-trail.Beautiful location.
Sherman,i would love to see this bridge used for a rail-trail but i think it would have to be moved due to where it's located.I don't know who the designer or manufacturer is offhand.By the way,there is an abandoned r.r. bridge over Neshannock creek.Did you know about that one and is that one on Bridgehunter?
The pier(s) for the c. 1864 wooden railroad bridge can be seen from the bank. The replacement crossing was built in 1899 but I am unsure on when it was replaced with the twin-track bridge.