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Narrowsburg-Darbytown Bridge

Photos 

Narrowsburg Bridge facing down river (south)

Taken from Fish and Boat launch off DeMauro Ln

Photo taken by Jodi Christman in July 2010

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BH Photo #172039

Map 

Street Views 

History 

Written by Jodi Christman

AUTOR NOTE: I have revised this article to cover the perspective of "bridgehunting by kayak."
On July 30th my kayak buddies and I took to the Delaware River. Water was low but sufficient for paddling (or floating as we are more likely to do). We put-in at the Fish and Boat launch off DeMauro Lane in Narrowsburg, NY. This launch provides an excellent look at the north side of the Narrowsburg Bridge. I recommend you take advantage of this view.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
The town Narrowsburg earned its name by the squeeze the Delaware River makes as it channels tightly between the mountainsides. The Delaware River has cut a deep gorge at the edge of the Allegheny Plateau. Over many years this trough has deepened by stream and glacial erosion through the weaker shales and siltstones of the backside of the Shawangunk Ridge. Here in Narrowsburg, the rock is stronger and forces the Delaware to choke past the narrow cut. Downstream from the squeeze is an eddy. A fairly sizeable eddy, hence called "Big Eddy." In the summer if you kayak under the bridge you won't feel a fast current even though one might think so with the water getting compressed by the two sides of rock. After passing the bridge you will feel the flow come to a stall as you enter the eddy. It's time to turn around and look back at this beauty of a bridge because the next half mile is reasonably stagnant; and, the next bridge isn't for five miles at Tunsten, NY where an iron railroad bridge crosses.
BRIDGE HISTORY OF THE LOCATION
Narrowsburg's transportation roots began when the Erie Railroad crossed the Delaware River and established a station in the town. While suspension bridges were the rave, the first non-rail bridge built here, and actually the first to cross the Delaware River between New York and Pennsylvania, was a wooden covered bridge. Construction began in 1810 and completed in 1811 by the Narrowsburg Bridge Company. Construction was funded privately with the plan of charging tolls to crossers. The bridge was destroyed by an ice flood in 1832. In the same location, but higher, a new bridge was built that same year, but it was destroyed by a flood 1846. Two years later another bridge was completed—a wooden covered bridge. This hearty bridge survived many floods up to 1899. The third bridge was made of iron which was a more common bridge material at this time. The iron through truss was erected by Oswego Bridge Company in 1899. It was updated in the 1920s. By 1927 no more tolls were collected on this bridge as it became state-owned.
THE CURRENT NARROWSBURG BRIDGE
Dedicated on August 31, 1953, this is the fourth bridge at this location. It was commissioned for $489,674, which was a very respectable price for the time. When construction began, the town was never without a bridge as the old iron bridge was kept open until the new bridge was completed. The old through truss stayed intact for many years even after the new bridge was opened. In fact, I would say it was there until at least 2003 as Frank Dale's book shows a photo with the new bridge and the 1899 bridge behind it. When I saw it in the summer of 2010, the iron bridge was no longer there.
The current bridge is modern, yet "retro." From the boat launch the beautiful arch span is the focal point of the bridge. The bridge's deep forest green color compliments the natural area yet allows the bridge to catch attention. This is form meets function at its best. Even the columns connecting the arch to the stringer have unique vertical openings in the steel—probably to save weight without hindering strength—adding visual interest and a modern, minimalist touch.
When paddling up close to the bridge, I first saw how the metal deck and steel arch rested elegantly on strong, stout concrete abutments and piers. But as the concrete piers rise vertically, they taper as to allow the arch to steal the "show." The riveted steel arch spouts from the eastern piers and connects to the other side. The view from the water makes the bridge look like it grows into the rocky mountain side on the west. but after you pass, you can see how the arch mirrors the east side.
Bibliography:
Dale, Frank T. "Bridges Over the Delaware River: A History of Crossings" Piscataway: Rutgers University Press, 2003.
Van Diver, Bradford B. "Roadside Geology of New York" Mountain Press Publishing Company 2003.

Facts 

Overview
Steel arch bridge over Delaware River on PA 652/NY 52
Location
Darbytown, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, and Sullivan County, New York
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1954
Design
Steel arch
Dimensions
Total length: 425.9 ft.
Deck width: 40.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.60973, -75.06178   (decimal degrees)
41°36'35" N, 75°03'42" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/494852/4606447 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Narrowsburg
Average daily traffic (as of 2018)
2,581
Inventory numbers
PA 63 0652 0250 1844 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
PANBI 35567 (Pennsylvania BRKEY bridge number on the 2011 NBI)
BH 31799 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of June 2018)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Excellent (9 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 45.6 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • April 15, 2020: Updated by Nick Boppel: Fix name & map marker
  • January 5, 2012: New Street View added by Jodi Christman
  • January 1, 2011: Essay added by Jodi Christman
  • December 27, 2010: Updated by Jodi Christman: Added description
  • August 6, 2010: New photos from Jodi Christman
  • July 9, 2009: Updated by Ian Anderson

Sources 

  • Ian Anderson - macsignals [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Jodi Christman - masterofchaos [at] outlook [dot] com
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Nick Boppel - nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com

Comments 

Narrowsburg-Darbytown Bridge
Posted April 15, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I have noticed that the markers seem to "shift" some over time due to whatever reason, and that the pin on the satellite view often wont line up with the map one.

As to naming, that is always something that is open to interpretation to some degree. I always prefer to use historic name if it can be found, if not I will use the road or "what the locals call it". If you're changing a name and you have solid proof to do so you need to list the previous one in the "Alternate Names" column and not just discard it.

Narrowsburg-Darbytown Bridge
Posted April 15, 2020, by Nick Boppel (nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Art,

Many of the map markers of bridges on various major waterways (including the Delaware River) have not been placed over the bridge alignment on the map. In some cases, they have been placed in the middle of the river a short distance away from the bridge, and in some cases they have been placed on shore next to the bridge but not on the bridge. IMHO map markers of currently intact bridges should always be located on the map alignment of the bridge.

Additionally, in several instances, the bridge name given here has either not been the official name and/or has not been descriptive (as was the case with the ICW bridges).

Narrowsburg-Darbytown Bridge
Posted April 15, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Nick,

You have been doing a lot of 'fixing names and moving map markers.' It appears that you have done all of the Delaware River crossings.

Can you clarify what you are up to? I had not seen significant problems with these prior to your efforts.

Thanks,

Art S.

Narrowsburg Bridge
Posted September 2, 2012, by Jodi Christman (masterofchaos [at] comcast [dot] net)

Unfortunately, The Historical Bridge Data does not provide a "Minimum navigation vertical clearance." As someone who kayaked under it in July a few years ago, I thought it was close to 60', but then I searched and discovered this person thought it was close to 90' http://www.flickr.com/photos/rlsycle/4693723919/

One of the older bridges was 40' from the river surface, and I know they raised the height thereafter. Something to note is that the measurement from bridge deck to top of the river surface will change as the river height changes due to the elements so the height will not stay consistent throughout the year.

Narrowsburg Bridge
Posted August 29, 2012, by Sylvia Balogh (sylvia [at] cameronind [dot] com)

I checked the web site for the bridge height and cannot find it anywhere. I would like to know the height from the center of the bridge to the rivver. Anyone have this information?????

Narrowsburg-Darbytown Bridge
Posted December 27, 2010, by Craig Philpott (cphilpott [at] puc [dot] edu)

In addition to being a fine bridge, this particular posting is inspiring to me with its' long form and bibliography for the historical details. Thank you.