2 votes

Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge


Southwest Elevation, Looking East

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #172112


Street Views 


Concrete arch bridge over Rock Creek on Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, District of Columbia
Open to traffic
Built 1858 in Cast Iron. Cast Iron Arch Encased In Concrete In 1916; rehabilitated 1979
- Hardaway Construction Co./Hardaway Contracting Co. of Columbus, Georgia
- Montgomery C. Meigs (1858 Original Designer)
- Phoenix Iron Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1858 Iron Pipe Arch)
Cast Iron Deck Arch Encased In Concrete Closed Spandrel deck arch.
Length of largest span: 164.1 ft.
Total length: 275.9 ft.
Deck width: 49.9 ft.
Also called
Meigs Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.90457, -77.05596   (decimal degrees)
38°54'16" N, 77°03'21" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/321723/4308195 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Washington West
Average daily traffic (as of 2007)
Inventory numbers
DC 118 (District of Columbia bridge number)
BH 12260 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of January 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 74.1 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • May 1, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • May 23, 2017: Updated by Luke: Added builders from HAER
  • March 7, 2011: Updated by Nathan Holth: Expanded History To Discuss Cast Iron Arch.
  • August 7, 2010: Posted HAER photos
  • May 4, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added GPS and info.


  • Nathan Holth
  • HAER DC-21 - Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge, Spanning Rock Creek & Potomac Parkway, Washington, District of Columbia, DC
  • Wikipedia
  • Luke
  • Geoff Hubbs


Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge
Posted May 23, 2017, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Its rare that I try to visit a bridge and hope to find it in a deteriorated condition, but I had hoped for that with this bridge so I could see the cast iron pipes where the concrete had fallen away. Alas, as frequently happens, I was too late. A visit to DC last weekend found this bridge undergoing what (I hope) rehabilitation. In either case, the arch barrel was covered in formwork. The cast iron pipes are probably concealed for another century now.

Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge
Posted March 7, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This bridge is much more than is currently described here. Sealed within this bridge is one of only two cast iron deck arch bridges in the United States (the other of course is Dunlaps Creek Bridge in Brownsville, PA). The Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge is unique, as the cast iron tubular arches of this bridge were designed to carry water within themselves. In other words, the arch ribs of the bridge are water mains. According to HAER they still carry water, encased within the 1915 arch bridge. They are visible both in HAER documentation and in Google Street View.