6 votes

Northampton Street Bridge (1896)


General View, Looking South From West Bank Of The Delaware River

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #142373

Street View 


The Northampton Street Bridge is one of a few extant eye-bar cantilever bridges in the United States. Its 50'-0"-long central span, supported between two 250'-0" cantilever arms, is carefully disguised by superfluous members so as to appear as a smooth catenary. Its appearance is tastefully balanced between Gothic flamboyance and a spartan machine aesthetic a piece of urban "structural art." Designed by James Madison Porter III, professor of engineering at nearby Lafayette College and an early advocate of materials testing, this bridge is his most important work. Bethlehem Steel Company repaired the structure to its original design in 1957, after it was heavily damaged by a flood two years previous. The Northampton Street Bridge has been designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

- Historic American Engineering Record


Cantilevered through truss bridge over Delaware River on Northampton Street
Easton, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, and Warren County, New Jersey
Open to two-lane traffic with a 3 ton weight limit
Built 1896; damaged and fixed 1955; rehabilitated 2002
- Bethlehem Steel Co. of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1957)
- Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission
- James Madison Porter III (Designer)
- Union Bridge Co. of Buffalo, New York & Athens, Pennsylvania (Fabricator)
Cantilevered eyebar through truss
Length of largest span: 299.9 ft.
Total length: 560.1 ft.
Deck width: 32.2 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 16.1 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Northampton Street Toll-supported Bridge (official name)
Easton-Phillipsburg Bridge Free Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.69147, -75.20393   (decimal degrees)
40°41'29" N, 75°12'14" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/482769/4504528 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 1993)
Inventory numbers
PA 48 7302 9992 0005 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
BH 41694 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of June 2008)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 20.5 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 14, 2021: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • July 3, 2021: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • April 30, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • March 26, 2021: New photos from Josh Schmid
  • October 29, 2020: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • May 2, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • April 14, 2020: Updated by Nick Boppel: Fix map marker
  • July 1, 2018: New photos from Chester Gehman
  • September 25, 2016: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Riveted"
  • August 14, 2016: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • August 14, 2016: Photo imported by Dave King
  • June 26, 2013: New Street View added by Dave King
  • September 22, 2010: New photos from Raymond Klein
  • September 21, 2010: New photo from Raymond Klein
  • July 9, 2009: Updated by Ian Anderson

Related Bridges 


  • Ian Anderson - macsignals [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission - Info page on this bridge
  • HAER PA-502 - Northampton Street Bridge, Spanning Delaware River at Northampton Street (U.S. Route 22 Alternate), Easton, Northampton County, PA
  • Raymond Klein - Bookshelfthe [at] msn [dot] com
  • Wikipedia
  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Chester Gehman - gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Nick Boppel - nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Geoff Hubbs
  • Patrick Gurwell - pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Josh Schmid
  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com


Northampton Street Bridge
Posted June 16, 2020, by George A Oakley (Georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I was watching WFMZ69 news Allentown this morning and saw that they reported that a design process is underway for a 2021 project that will rehabilitate this bridge according to the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.Engineers from GPI/Greenman Pederson,Inc. Lebanon,N.J. are initiating bridge inspections this week.This first-step process will confirm and assess the breadth of structural deficiencies that are expected to need attention during the rehabilitation.Traffic will not be impacted but one of the two walkways could be closed for brief periods.Currently the major issues are to strengthen floor beams below the bridge's road deck,repair/replace buckling steel eye-bar components on the center portion of the bridge that was reconstructed after the 1955 river flood,replace the two deteriorating fiberglass walkways,outfit the bridge with a new architectural-lighting system,repair deteriorating masonry at the bridge's abutments and wingwalls along with painting the bridge.Design engineers are assessing the severity of these individual bridge concerns to determine the course of action to address each issue.After all of the design work is completed and contractors are awarded the contracts in early 2021 construction should begin in the early spring of next year and reach completion during late 2021 or early 2022.This project would undergo rehabilitation during the bridge's 100th anniversary of being converted from a private tolled crossing to a publicly owned "free" crossing.By the way,while I was watching the broadcast they showed the damage from the 1955 flooding that ripped the section of the bridge away which was reconstructed.

Northampton Street Bridge
Posted July 9, 2009, by Ian Anderson (macsignals [at] gmail [dot] com)

Kevin is right, this bridge still exists and still carries traffic with a 3 ton weight limit. Owned by the DRJTBC, rehabilitated in 2002. I'll update the page to reflect this.

Northampton Street Bridge
Posted July 8, 2009, by Kevin Flynn (kevin [dot] j [dot] flynn [at] comcast [dot] net)

The Northampton Street Bridge was not replaced in 2002; it is the same 1896 span. Perhaps it was rehabilitated in 2002?

It was severely damaged in the 1955 Delaware River flood after Hurricane Dianne in August; the center span broke and it was repaired. This 1896 bridge replaced an older covered bridge in the same location.