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Point Mountain Road Bridge

Photos 

Photo taken by Andrew Pearce in August 2012

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BH Photo #238269

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Description 

"The bridge carries one lane of a lightly travelled rural road over the scenic Musconetcong River, the boundary between Hunterdon and Warren counties. The bridge is located in a wooded rural area.

The 5-panel pin-connected half hip Pratt pony truss is supported on stone abutments and concrete backwalls. It exhibits no distinctive design details. The eye bars are stamped. The span is a late example of a common bridge type in the county. While technically undistinguished, it is one of the few documented examples of the Smith Bridge Company of Toledo. The historical interest is augmented by the fact that the span is well preserved.

Physical Description: The 5-panel, pin-connected Pratt half hip pony truss bridge supported on ashlar abutments is 70' long and 15' wide. It is composed of steel sections with the top chord and inclined end post of channels with cover plate and the verticals of channels joined by battens. The eyebars used for the lower chords and diagonals are stamped while the counters are round bars with forged eyes. The rolled I-section floor beams are hung from the panel points on U-shaped suspenders. the roadway deck is wood. alterations appear to be limited to the addition of welded outriggers and a protective rail welded to the inside face of the truss lines. Historical and Technological Significance: Although a late example of a pin-connected Pratt pony truss bridge, the most common bridge type from the last two decades of the 19th century, the 1905 Point Mountain Road bridge is historically significant because it is the product of a small Ohio bridge fabricator, the Smith Bridge Company of Toledo. Robert W. Smith moved his wood truss bridge works established in 1867 from Tippicanoe City (Ohio) to Toledo in 1869. There he built composite (wood and metal) trusses, and in 1870 he formed Smith Bridge Company which he sold in 1890. The new owners changed the name to Toledo Bridge Company and later sold to American Bridge Company in 1901. Smith, however, went back into business as Smith Bridge Company. How much past 1905 the small operation continued is not known, but this span is one of the few documented examples of their activity in New Jersey. Smith Bridge Company is historically significant in that its history represents how metal truss bridges were manufactured and marketed during the last quarter of the 19th century. Using standard shapes and fairly standard designs, small companies like Smith Bridge Company fabricated trusses that were marketed to county officials through regional agents. The historical significance of the span is enhanced by the fact that it survives in such a complete state of preservation, and the historical and technological value of the structure combine to make it a significant example of its genre (criterion A). Ohio was a particularly fertile state for bridge fabricating companies which was the home state for giants like Canton's Wrought Iron Bridge Company and smaller concerns like the Massillon Bridge Company and the Champion Bridge Company of Wilmington. Many of these smaller companies, like Wrought Iron Bridge Company and Toledo Bridge Company, the group that bought Smith's first company in 1890, were amalgamated into J.P. Morgan's and then United States Steel Corporation's American Bridge Company starting in 1900. Although that the American Bridge Company consolidation then controlled 50% of the nation's fabricating capacity (Darnell, p. 85).

Much of this information is grossly incorrect*** I changed the build date to ca. 1885 instead of 1905 because the Smith Bridge Company was sold in 1890. Also, Smith was a very large operation in it's heyday (as was Massillon)and not a "small concern" as was incorrectly reported here.

Facts 

Overview
Pony truss bridge over Musconetcong River on CR 645
Location
Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and Warren County, New Jersey
Status
Replaced by a new bridge
History
Built ca. 1885; rehabilitated 1960; replaced with new pony truss in 2019
Builder
- Smith Bridge Co. of Toledo, Ohio
Design
Pin-connected, 5-panel half-hip Pratt pony truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 73.2 ft.
Total length: 76.1 ft.
Deck width: 15.4 ft.
Recognition
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Port Murray Road Bridge
Musconetcong River Bridge
CR 645 Bridge
Musconetcong River Road Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.76722, -74.91167   (decimal degrees)
40°46'02" N, 74°54'42" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/507455/4512920 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Washington
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
850
Inventory numbers
NJ 100L25W (New Jersey bridge number)
BH 25288 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of May 2017)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 28.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • January 18, 2021: Updated by Geoff Hubbs: Updated status
  • August 27, 2012: Updated by Andrew Pearce: added data and pictures

Sources 

Comments 

Point Mountain Road Bridge
Posted January 19, 2021, by Chester Gehman (gehmanc2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

1. The information in the description of this bridge, as found in the New Jersey Historic Bridge Data for Hunterdon County,is attributed to Victor C. Darnell (Darnell, p. 85). This is incorrect. Darnell is cited as a bibliographical source, and pertains only to information concerning the Smith Bridge Company (Directory Of American Bridge-Building Companies 1840-1900)

2. Smith Bridge Company WAS a "smaller company", as was Massillon Bridge, when compared to larger companies of the time such as Kellogg and King, for example. While Darnell has no information for Smith, shop capacities in the year 1894 were: Massillon, 6.0 tons; Kellogg, 26 tons; King, 18 tons. By 1903, Kellogg was out of business, bu King's capacity had increased to 30 tons, while Massillon was at 8 tons. (information from Darnell)

3. Smith sold the company in 1890 to Toledo Bridge Company, who in turn sold it to the American Bridge Company in 1901.

If the information about the Point Mountain Road Bridge from Hunterdon County data is correct, then a build date of 1905 is possible. Quoting from the NJ Data page, "Smith, however, went back into business as Smith Bridge Company. How much past 1905 the small operation continued is not known." Darnell is silent on this point. There are several bridges on BH built after 1890 attributed to Smith. Are they correct? Who knows?