7 votes

Wolf Bridge


Photo taken by Jodi Christman


BH Photo #177754


Street Views 


FROM THE 1996-2001 PENNSYLVANIA HISTORIC BRIDGE SURVEY: The one-span, 190'-long, pin-connected, Pennsylvania thru truss bridge built in 1895 is composed of built-up sections and eye bars. It is supported on stone abutments with wingwalls. The open steel grid deck and stringers were placed in 1955. Plates have been welded to the verticals above the lower panel points. W-beam guide railings have replaced the earlier railings. The bridge has Z-plate floorbeam hangers, a detail distinctive of the fabricator, the Pittsburgh Bridge Co. It was erected by their agents Nelson & Buchanan of Chambersburg. The Pennsylvania truss design, a variation of the Pratt truss with subdivided panels and polygonal upper chord, was developed in about 1875 by bridge engineers of the Pennsylvania RR. The design was used primarily for long-span railroad applications, but found some popularity for long-span (approx. 200') highway applications from about 1890 to 1910, and it continued to be used in the state through the 1930s, though most later examples are rivet connected. The survey has identified at least four pre-1900 examples of Pennsylvania thru truss highway bridges. This example has alterations but they do not compromise the overall integrity of original design or workmanship. The bridge is historically and technologically significant as an increasingly rare type and design.


Pennsylvania through truss bridge over Conodoguinet Creek on Wolf Bridge Road (TR 508) in Schlusser
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania
Replaced - status of original unknown
Future prospects
Based on earlier reports, the original was probably demolished but I have no documentation to verify the status.
Built 1895; rehabilitated 1955; closed permanently in 2013, to be replaced in 2016, demolished or removed 2020-2021
- Nelson & Buchanan Co. of Chambersburg & Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Pittsburgh Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania through truss
Total length: 191.9 ft.
Deck width: 17.4 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.24026, -77.16495   (decimal degrees)
40°14'25" N, 77°09'54" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/315842/4456672 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
Inventory numbers
PA 21 7206 0508 3611 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
PANBI 14077 (Pennsylvania BRKEY bridge number on the 2011 NBI)
BH 30818 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2017)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Critical (2 out of 9)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • October 8, 2021: Updated by Brian R. Warren: Updated bridge status
  • May 3, 2020: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • November 11, 2019: Updated by Nathan Holth: Updated planned demo based on contract docs.
  • August 17, 2017: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • August 17, 2014: New photos from Jodi Christman
  • November 19, 2013: New photos from Jodi Christman
  • November 12, 2013: Updated by Jason Smith: This bridge is doomed: closed to all traffic until 2016 or if funding is available for replacement earlier
  • December 26, 2011: Updated by Jodi Christman: Added builder and description
  • November 3, 2011: Updated by Nathan Holth: This bridge's future is now uncertain. May be at risk for demolition.
  • June 11, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Bridge reopened
  • May 9, 2011: New Street View added by Daniel Hopkins
  • March 7, 2011: Updated by Daniel Hopkins: Corrected GPS
  • September 17, 2010: New photos from Jodi Christman
  • June 15, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: Bridge has been damaged and closed.

Related Bridges 


  • K. A. Erickson
  • Nathan Holth
  • Jodi Christman - masterofchaos [at] outlook [dot] com
  • Daniel Hopkins - chimera [at] clovermail [dot] net
  • Luke
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Patrick Gurwell - pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Brian R. Warren


Wolf Bridge
Posted October 8, 2021, by Brian R. Warren (sanitarian1281[at]yahoo[dot]com)

The replacement has been completed. It appears to my untrained eye to be a nondescript concrete slab bridge.

Wolf Bridge
Posted October 20, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


Cumberland County detour starts Oct. 26 for bridge-replacement project

Updated Oct 20, 9:58 AM; Posted Oct 19, 1:36 PM

By Steve Marroni | smarroni@pennlive.com

Residents of Middlesex Township can expect a month-long detour starting next week as crews replace a bridge that has been closed for seven years.

Cumberland County officials say a new detour for the project to replace the Wolf Bridge will begin on Oct. 26.

The intersection of Wolf Bridge Road and Clemson Drive will be closed to allow for the construction of tie-ins to the new bridge. That part of the project will take three to four weeks and will take drivers on a four-mile detour on Clemson Drive, North Middlesex Road, and West Middlesex Drive.

Wolf Bridge closed in September 2013 when an annual inspection revealed extensive deterioration.

The 192-foot-long, steel-truss bridge was built in 1895 and had a 10-ton weight limit, carrying about 2,000 vehicles per day over the Conodoguinet Creek, prior to its closing.

The estimated $3 million construction cost will be entirely funded by federal funds.

County officials say it’s part of the Cumberland County Bridge Capital Improvement Plan that includes more than $30 million of bridge replacement or repair projects on all 28 county-owned bridges. The primary funding source comes from the county approved $5 per vehicle registration fee. Since 2015, the fee has generated approximately $1.1 million per year, allowing the county to address its bridge needs.

Wolf Bridge
Posted October 20, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Wolf Bridge
Posted June 4, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Wolf Bridge
Posted February 18, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


The Historic Bridge Foundation is another out-of-state entity that frequently is a consulting party on bridge projects in Pennsylvania. I have trouble keeping track of them all, but it looks like HBF isn't a CP on this one.

Convincing PennDOT, Cumberland County, or any entity in Pennsylvania that rehab of historic truss bridges is even occasionally feasible has been an uphill battle of over a decade. Progress has been made, but not enough to turn a report like this one around 180 degrees.

Wolf Bridge
Posted February 18, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


I figured that you were the out of state preservationist they were referring to.

I was hoping that you might be able to convince them that repair/restoration would be a faster/better alternative.


Art S.

Wolf Bridge
Posted February 18, 2015, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

From my conversations regarding this bridge I have found out that the county doesn't want the expense of putting in and electrifying a stop light system for the one lane bridge. It really has no access to bypass the historic given it's location and we know from our work in Pennsylvania that the bottom chord will most likely be shot. Workin' Bridges has not looked at this one professionally.

And now, in Pennsylvania, bridges are not necessarily doomed, but they must go through the Section 106 process before the next step can be made. For Pennsylvania that most likely means the "Bridges for Sale" program that Workin' Bridges is involved with through Preservation PA.

There is an alternate route, this bridge could be repaired most likely (they almost all can) but the costs do vary. If you are interested in more info look into ProjectPath. They are trying and there are many view points to be considered.

Wolf Bridge
Posted February 18, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


I am unsure what you are suggesting. I have no reason to assume anything other than that federal procedure will continue to be lawfully followed by all involved parties. I honestly am not sure what the county hopes to accomplish with its complaints... in my view it is inconsequential.

Wolf Bridge
Posted February 17, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Go get-em Nathan!!

Wolf Bridge
Posted February 17, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Anyone who is interested in FACTS about this project rather than DRAMA as presented by the county may feel free to review the Section 106 documentation to date here posted as public record: http://search.paprojectpath.org/PostingDetails.aspx?ProjectI...

and from the documentation it will become readily apparent that any delays are neither the fault of the PHMC or the consulting parties, and instead is the result of unanswered questions, discrepancies, and incomplete analysis in the feasibility report as prepared by the hired consultant at the direction of... drumroll... the county. Should the county wish to speed up the process, there are several options available to it. In the future, the county could hire a consultant with a deeper experience in considering the feasibility of truss bridge rehabilitation. If an analysis had led to a feasible and prudent alternative that would preserve the historic bridge, the project could already be "shovel ready" with a project to preserve the historic bridge and meet the needs of the crossing. The county also has, at any time, the option to reject the 80% federal funds and use exclusively local funds to replace the bridge (as long as no federal permits are required). Alternatively, the county could have just repaired the bridge to get it open again.

Wolf Bridge
Posted February 17, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Wolf Bridge
Posted February 6, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The article noted below makes no sense, since the last communication I heard of suggested this project was moving in the direction of demolition and replacement... and moreover that leaving the historic bridge standing for pedestrian use would NOT be considered. I also take offense at the statement by Middlesex Township supervisor Steven Larson that out of state preservationists are an impediment to the project and have never set foot in Pennsylvania. I am a consulting party on this project. I visit Pennsylvania annually, and have personally visited this bridge at my own expense. Moreover, because this project has Federal involvement, it is a national issue. If you are using Federal funds or involving Federal agencies to harm a historic bridge, than you are using MY tax dollars, and that gives me the right to have input into the project.

Wolf Bridge
Posted February 5, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Pesky preservationists are getting in the way!:


Wolf Bridge
Posted November 21, 2013, by Jodi Christman (masterofchaos [at] outlook [dot] com)

I was able to get out and take a lot of photos documenting the bridge's current condition on Nov. 19th compared to my shots dating from 2009 and 2010.

There appears to be major rust in the substructure. As well as rust all over showing that the bridge needed more care (at least painting) to keep it performing.

Also in my photos you can see the vertical they replaced back in 2010-11 and the guide rails that replaced the frail railing. This is a neat bridge and I hope they take care to restore.

Wolf Bridge
Posted November 12, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I believe Section 106 applies to this bridge. Not that this will prevent demolition, but PennDOT cannot replace it until 106 is done.

Also, in the article, the following statement is one of the most annoying excuses I hear repeatedly that drives me nuts because if the hired engineer had even a tiny level of experience in rehabilitation of metal truss bridges, they would be able to accurately identify the areas and extent of deterioration prior to starting a project:

"Stoner said Wolf Bridge’s structural design presents the biggest problem, saying “the parts are so interconnected, there may be further signs of deterioration as the bridge is being disassembled.”

“It’s kind of like a house of cards,” he said. “The list of repairs can grow pretty quickly.”

Wolf Bridge
Posted November 12, 2013, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com)

This update suggests the decision is a said and done deal - http://cumberlink.com/news/local/wolf-bridge-likely-to-remai...

Wolf Bridge
Posted September 26, 2013, by Wes B (Hypersonixu2 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Closed again today, and likely doomed. I can see it being replaced more than refurbished.


Wolf Bridge
Posted June 11, 2011, by Luke Harden (lmharden [at] iastate [dot] edu)

Thanks for the info, updated the bridge.

Wolf Bridge
Posted June 11, 2011, by Anonymous

Its back open now