2 votes

Stony Brook Bridge


Photo taken by Mob Mob

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)

View this photo on Flickr

BH Photo #252788


Street Views 


Copied from 2002 update of 1987 NJ state histoic bridge survey

SETTING / CONTEXT The stone bridge is located on the historic right of way of the Kings Highway, the main 18th-century road between New York and Philadelphia. On the southwest edge of Princeton Township over a stream on a heavily traveled 2-lane road, it is now part of the federal highway system. The west side of the bridge abutted a non-extant stone mill. A modern stringer bridge (1129154) over the flood plain is now contiguous to the west side.

SUMMARY The well-proportioned 3-span rubble-coursed stone arch has ring stones and a low stone parapet. One of several ca. 1800 stone arch bridges, it is a large and impressive example of late-18th century engineering. The bridge is located in the Princeton Battlefield/Stony Brook Village District Extension (1989), but it is not rated. It was built within the period of significance of the district and should be considered a contributing resource based on its age, structural type, and history.

INFORMATION Bibliography: "Princeton Battlefield/Stony Brook Village Historic District Extension" National Register Nomination. 1972, 1977. NJHPO.

Physical Description: The handsome rubble-coursed fieldstone arch bridge spans meandering Stony Brook on the western edge of Princeton. It carries heavily traveled two-lane US 206. The three-arch span has the largest opening in the middle with slightly smaller flanking arches. All have a ring stone band with no defined keystone. The bridge was built with a slight rise and has solid stone parapets. It has been widened, and the intrados have been covered with a shotcrete material. While the 82'-long bridge has no doubt been rebuilt over the years, the work has been in such a manner as to perpetuate the original scheme.

Historical and Technological Significance: The impressive 3-span barrel arch stone bridge was constructed in 1792, according to its plaque, on what was the main road (formerly known as the Kings Highway) from Philadelphia to New York. The bridge is one of three 1790-1810 multi-span stone arches in the vicinity, with the one across the Millstone River at Kingston being longer (four spans) and better preserved.

Stone arches represent a significant advancement in regional development for the bridge type reflects the progress and prosperity of the region. Due in large part to the quality of construction and the longevity of the technology (early bridges were frequently widened rather than replaced), a good number of late-18th and early-19th century stone arches survive in the state. The US 206 bridge is a representative example of that type, and as such is an important element in the historical development of the Princeton area. It is also a contributing resource in the Stony Brook Village Historic District.

Boundary Description and Justification: The bridge is located within a listed historic district, so the span and the surrounding acreage is evaluated as significant. Please refer to the map on file with the 1989 National Register nomination for the exact district boundary.


Stone arch bridge over Stony Brook on US 206
Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey
Open to traffic
Built 1792
Stone arch
Length of largest span: 26.9 ft.
Total length: 82.0 ft.
Deck width: 29.9 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.33278, -74.68194   (decimal degrees)
40°19'58" N, 74°40'55" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/527016/4464741 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
Inventory number
BH 25367 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of November 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 69 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • June 26, 2021: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • January 21, 2020: Updated by Art Suckewer: Added details and history of bridge
  • July 7, 2019: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • October 24, 2013: New Street View added by Luke Harden
  • April 24, 2013: New Street View added by Luke Harden


  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com
  • Luke


Stony Brook Bridge
Posted December 30, 2018, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Some videos of the reconstruction. It appears that the arches and side walls remained mostly intact. That said, everything else was replaced/gutted and reinforced. I guess my question is: is it still original or an outer decoration on a modern bridge? Here are some videos of the redo:


In this one there's a view of just piers, that's the spillway west of the mill wall:


Here's another video of the work. Note in the SE corner (upper left in much of the video) is the Quaker Road bridge a single arch stone bridge.


Similar or same as first video:


Prior to repairs:



Stony Brook Bridge
Posted December 9, 2018, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Drove over this bridge today. The work was impressive and extensive. In reality, I only caught a passing glance. It appears to have included stabilizing the adjacent Quaker Road bridge and the remaining wall of the 1680 mill. While the work looks nice, I cannot comment on its historic integrity.


Art S.

Stony Brook Bridge
Posted November 8, 2017, by Weewok (weewok [at] hotmail [dot] com)

New Jersey's oldest operating bridge reborn!

Photos at: http://s.nj.com/mDWERBM

Stony Brook Bridge
Posted March 6, 2016, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Temporary repairs complete, reopening with 20 Ton limit and a truck detour until permanent repairs complete:


Note: this is a 1792 bridge that George Washington (and probably all of our founding fathers) crossed. With temporary repairs on significant damage - 20 Ton limit and no longer a primary truck route!

Stony Brook Bridge
Posted March 2, 2016, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Its interesting to see how differently the failures of this bridge and Iowa's Wagon Wheel Bridge are being handled.

Article with pictures:




An 18th-century-bridge on Route 206 over the Stony Brook has a “damaged” foundation area that will require crews to pump in concrete to stabilize the foundation and immediate area, municipal officials said Monday in adding the bridge will “possibly” remain closed into next week.

The discovery of the latest problem, disclosed to the town by the state Department of Transportation, was triggered after a stone parapet on the southbound lane collapsed last week. The need to repair that damage led to more inspections finding cracks and voids in the arches that hold up the bridge, with the state also concerned about the southern abutment or end of the bridge, the town said.

At her regular press conference, Mayor Liz Lempert told reporters that a diver, who is also an engineer, went into the water to look at the foundations of the bridge. “They are damaged,” she said.

In particular, there is erosion of the soil that supports the bridge, town engineer Robert V. Kiser said.

She said the state was putting in temporary dams on Monday to divert the water to give authorities a “much better look at the state of the foundations of the bridge.”

“Once they’ve done that analysis,” she said, “they will have a better sense of how long the repairs are going to take them.”

A stretch of Route 206 between Hutchinson Drive and Lovers Lane has been closed in both directions since last week, so motorists have had to take detours to avoid the closure. The town has not received a firm timetable for when the bridge would reopen.

“So what they’ve told us is that it’ll definitely be closed through the end of this week, possibly through the end of next week,” she said.

For its part, DOT spokesman Kevin Israel said Monday that repairs are “more extensive” than first thought. He was checking to confirm the accuracy of Mayor Lempert’s statements about the foundations.

The bridge was constructed in 1792, and is believed to be the oldest bridge in continuous use on a state highway in New Jersey and possibly the country, Mr. Kiser said. The DOT was not immediately able to say Monday when the last time it had been inspected.

The bridge has historical protections, so the state has to make the repairs in a historically sensitive way.

“Obviously, you want to preserve both the historic integrity of it and also the structural integrity of it,” Mayor Lempert said.

She sought to explain what might have led to this round of problems with the old structure. She said that stretch of Route 206 had been mistakenly put on the state’s truck route map.

“Some of the damage that was being caused to the bridge was because you had vehicles coming over there that had no business being on top of that bridge, because the trucks were being directed there,” she said. “Now that’s been cleared up.”

Princeton has one other bridge that old, also built in 1792, on Mercer Road over the Stony Brook. Mr. Kiser said it was reconstructed by Mercer County in the late 1970s.

To fix the foundation problem, the state would need to pump in concrete. Based on Mr. Kiser’s experience, he said that kind of repair would take anywhere from a week-and-a-half to two weeks or longer, weather permitting.

As for detours, the state has said motorists travelling south on Route 206 should go right on Georgetown Franklin Road/CR518, left on Hopewell Princeton Road and right onto Route 206 south.

Northbound drivers should go left on Carter Road, right onto Georgetown Franklin Road and left back on Route 206 north.

Stony Brook Bridge
Posted March 2, 2016, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

The bridge is closed indefinitely (April 30 estimate). Considering that thousands of cars a day crossed the bridge, this is creating a traffic mess.

Its fun to read the negative commentary:


Stony Brook Bridge
Posted February 26, 2016, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Unlike truss bridges, which are closed for no apparent reason, 18th century stone arch bridges are kept open as the continue to collapse! They finally decided to close the bridge after additional failure and signs of arch failure:


A week long emergency project on Route 206 in Princeton led to the complete closure of the entire road on Friday.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation has worked all week on installing a concrete barrier on the north and southbound sides of the historic bridge over Stony Brook at Quaker Road near the Hun School, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Jasna Plana Country Club.

Traffic alternated one lane at a time all week but the road was completely closed between Carter Road and Elm Road on Friday. Traffic was backed up on many alternate routes including Fackler Road, Cherry Valley Road and Princeton Pike.

Lt. Jon Bucchere of the Princeton Police Department said additional damage to the wall developed on Thursday night.

“At some point the condition of the bridge worsened which required the shutdown,” Bucchere said. He expected the bridge to reopen by sometime Saturday afternoon or evening. The DOT in a statement Friday afternoon said that “cracks and voids” were discovered during an inspection by engineers in the the stone arches that support the structure.

According to the DOT, the original problem was a protective wall called a parapet that collapsed along the southbound side and needs to be replaced. Because of the historic nature of the bridge, the work must be done using similar construction methods. It’s not known how long the work will take to complete.

Stony Brook Bridge
Posted February 23, 2016, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

I know that most of you are more interested in more elaborate structures than the humble stone arch but this 1792 bridge, built during George Washington's presidency (which would mean he crossed it!) is still in very heavy use today. Unfortunately, heavy use may have taken it's toll as the bridge just had a partial (hopefully minor) collapse:


Stony Brook Bridge
Posted October 24, 2013, by Art S (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

The wall visible to the left is the remains of a late 1600's mill. The mill was destroyed when the road/bridge were widened and rehabbed in the 1890's.

Stony Brook Bridge
Posted April 24, 2013, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Stony Brook Bridge
Posted April 24, 2013, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Here is an old postcard of the bridge: http://pudl.princeton.edu/sheetreader.php?obj=5425k979t

Stony Brook Bridge
Posted April 24, 2013, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

My mistake, it was built in 1792. I'm pretty sure this bridge also replaced a wooden bridge burned by George Washington's troops during the revolution.

Stony Brook Bridge
Posted April 24, 2013, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


The image the comes up in street view is the Quaker Road bridge, this bridge/intersection are literally feet from the correct bridge. If street view pans to the right, you see the actual bridge.

This is the bridge: http://www.seocom.com/stan/njprnctn1.html


Art S.

Stony Brook Bridge
Posted April 24, 2013, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

This bridge was built in 1797.