3 votes

East Ward Street Bridge


East Ward Bridge - February 2007


Photo taken by Raymond Klein


BH Photo #136265


SUMMARY The well-preserved 2-span bridge is a rare example of a double-intersection Warren truss with hangers. It was fabricated by the important New Jersey Steel & Iron Co. of Trenton and is a late but significant example of the firm's bridge work. Since only a masonry plan survives, the span may have been a proprietary design. It is one of most significant thru trusses in the county because of its type, maker, and state of preservation. The steel grate deck was installed in 1969.

INFORMATION Bibliography: Geiger, Carl. The Peddie School First Century. Mercer County Engineers Office. Transfer File & Plans #863.4.

Physical Description: The well-preserved 2-span thru truss bridge on coursed ashlar abutments and mid-stream pier is an unusual and possibly unique double intersection Warren with floor beam hangers. The panel points and hangers carry built-up floor beams which appears to be original. The present steel deck and stringers were installed in 1969. The inclined end posts and top chord are composed of channels and plates while the diagonals are toe-out angles joined by battens. The tension members have narrower battens and pass through the wider-spaced compression members. The lattice portal brace is topped with cresting at the outside panels, and the roller bearing of each span is also located at the abutment end. The pipe railing which passes through the compression members is original. With the exception of the steel open grid deck, the bridge is in remarkably complete condition with no visible major welded repairs. The grid does not detract from the integrity of the bridge.

Historical and Technological Significance: The 2-span thru truss built in 1896 is a nearly complete example of the uncommon doubleintersection Warren with floor beam hangers. It was fabricated and possibly designed by the New Jersey Steel and Iron Company of Trenton, one of the most important mills in the country prior to its absorption into the Carnegie's American Bridge Company in 1901. The company was established as the Trenton Iron Company in 1846 when Peter Hewitt received a $180,000. contract for rolled iron rail from the Camden & Amboy Railroad. In 1854 the company produced the first rolled 7" I-beams. The rolled beams were to revolutionize building construction. Trenton Iron & Steel Co. produced all kinds of structural steel, including shaped steel for many New York City skyscrapers, elevated street railways in New York and Brooklyn, and even Civil War-era gun barrels. Mercer County records indicate that many New Jersey Steel and Iron Company bridges once stood in the county. The non-extant mid-1880s viaducts over North Olden and Southard Streets in Trenton were their work as is the extant 1888 Jackson Street Pratt truss in Trenton

The well-preserved East Ward Avenue bridge survives as one of the best albeit late examples of a New Jersey Steel and Iron Company bridge in the region. It is an unusual example of a double intersection Warren with floor beam hangers. Technologically it represents one of the many variations on the traditionally used trusses that were promoted and marketed during the last quarter of the 19th century. Prior to the consolidation of smaller bridge fabricating companies into the American Bridge Company conglomerate in 1901, the independent fabricators both designed and fabricated the trusses they marketed.

The bridge spans Peddie Lake, a long narrow mill pond created in the 18th century by damming Rocky Creek, a tributary of the Millstone River. The pond's water powered grain mills through the 19th century. The lake is now named for the private school located on its western shore. Founded in 1864 as the New Jersey Classical and Scientific Institute by the state's Baptists, the name of the preparatory school was changed in 1872 to honor its chief benefactor. The bridge carries a local street and serves as a more direct route to the northeast section of town, a predominantly 19th century community.

Boundary Description and Justification: The bridge does not appear to be located in or contiguous to a potential historic district. It is not historically related to the Peddie School that is located on the west side of the span. Therefore, the significant boundary is limited to the span itself and does not include surrounding property.


Through truss bridge over Peddie Lake on East Ward Avenue in Hightstown
Hightstown, Mercer County, New Jersey
Open to traffic
Built 1896 by New Jersey Steel & Iron; rehabilitated 1969
- New Jersey Steel & Iron Co. of Trenton, New Jersey
Two-span riveted double-intersection Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 126.0 ft.
Total length: 254.9 ft.
Deck width: 20.7 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.0 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Peddie Lake Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.26676, -74.52118   (decimal degrees)
40°16'00" N, 74°31'16" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/540712/4457475 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
Inventory numbers
NJ 1100034 (New Jersey bridge number)
BH 25350 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of May 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 12 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • January 28, 2022: Updated by Nathan Holth: Adjusted names to reflect current local usage.
  • October 7, 2021: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • January 21, 2020: Updated by Art Suckewer: Added details and history of superstructure
  • October 28, 2019: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • August 4, 2019: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • July 30, 2016: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • April 13, 2015: Updated by Art Suckewer: Added Pictures and added the locally known name
  • March 31, 2009: New photos from Raymond Klein


  • Raymond Klein - Bookshelfthe [at] msn [dot] com
  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com
  • Patrick Gurwell - pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Nathan Holth


East Ward Street Bridge
Posted January 28, 2022, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Given the alternative this is a win.

Peddie Lake Bridge
Posted January 28, 2022, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Upon further review of this project we have determined the following:

1. Section 106 does not apply as there is no federal trigger.

2. The current plan is to widen the bridge with the goal of protecting the trusses from numerous impact damages.

3. Widening will involve alterations to the overhead bracing.

4. The current project is being designed by staff who are supportive of in-kind repairs to the trusses, and who are hoping to make the overhead bracing alterations as unnoticeable as possible.

So in summary the bridge is not currently at risk for demolition and efforts are being made to keep the trusses looking nice. Given the situation, its not as bad as originally suspected.

Peddie Lake Bridge
Posted May 24, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


I'm not sure if this is arrogance, stupidity or genius on the part of the county's bridge department.

They are stuck maintaining historic bridges. They don't want to be involved with historic preservation. With their approach, the problem goes away. Either they tear it down, close it or transfer responsibility to someone else.

The same battle is occurring in Hopewell with the Mine Road Bridge. Both bridges meet the need with their historic specification.

The bridge can be economically restored/maintained but there needs to be a willingness to do so. I went to Peddie for a year and loved that bridge. Would the town or school be willing too take ownership if they were presented with a cost effective way of doing so?


Art S.

Peddie Lake Bridge
Posted May 24, 2021, by Charles Stults (cstults [at] allenstults [dot] com)

This bridge not only needs to be preserved, but there should not be any alteration in its width and weight capacity. It is a truly residential street next to a school. Any "modernization" but the county will only increase traffic as a short cut route for through travelers, not locals. It is also a local owned street but has had some designation as an emergency route.

We plan on continuing to oppose any changes but the county does not much care about our small borough.

Peddie Lake Bridge
Posted May 14, 2021, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I do not know any more than that news article. Unless I am mistaken, New Jersey doesn't appear to post Section 106 documents like Pennsylvania and Indiana.

Peddie Lake Bridge
Posted May 14, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


This one just hit the news a couple days ago, I'm trying to find out more info from the locals. The issue is county specific. The county engineer has decided to get rid of every historic bridge in the county DOT responsivity.

Same problem with Mine Road Bridge. One that one, the town would rather permanently close the road than lose the bridge.

Do you know more?


Art S.