4 votes

Craighead Bridge


Photo taken by Jodi Christman on 2/26/2011


BH Photo #194315


Street View 


FROM THE 1996-2001 PENNSYLVANIA HISTORIC BRIDGE SURVEY: The one-span, 134'-long, pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge has members composed of standard built-up sections and eyebars. The bridge retains its original lattice railings and is supported on stone abutments. Open steel grid deck and steel stringers were placed ca. 1960. The bridge was fabricated in 1899 by the Pittsburgh Bridge Co. and erected by their agents, Nelson & Buchanan of Chambersburg. It is historically and technologically significant as a complete example of the popular Pratt truss design that dominated metal truss highway bridge construction in the late 19th century. The bridge has significance as one of five extant truss highway bridges from 1889 to 1899 in Cumberland County, and one of three Pratt truss bridges. The bridge documents the work of a regionally important metal truss bridge fabricator and builder.


Through truss bridge over Yellow Breeches Creek on Craighead Bridge Road (TR 520)
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania
Bridge work will be coordinated by the locals.
Future prospects
Ownership Transferred 5/10/2017 to NSRGA / Workin' Bridges.
Built 1899; rehabilitated ca. 1960
- Nelson & Buchanan Co. of Chambersburg & Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Pittsburgh Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pratt through truss
Span length: 133.9 ft.
Total length: 133.9 ft.
Deck width: 16.9 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.14711, -77.17260   (decimal degrees)
40°08'50" N, 77°10'21" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/314938/4446347 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
Inventory numbers
PA 21 7213 0520 3818 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
PANBI 14097 (Pennsylvania BRKEY bridge number on the 2011 NBI)
BH 30812 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of October 2015)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Critical (2 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Critical (2 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 8.1 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • January 5, 2018: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • May 10, 2017: Updated by Julie Bowers: Under New Owner (I think I have a problem) (lol) (we're looking for bridges in every state and we need local input.
  • July 23, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Closed
  • March 30, 2013: Updated by Nathan Holth: This bridge is now doomed.
  • March 8, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Corrected builder. Pittsburgh Bridge Co. was missing the "h"
  • December 26, 2011: Updated by Jodi Christman: Added description note
  • November 3, 2011: Updated by Nathan Holth: This bridge is now doomed.
  • February 26, 2011: New photos from Jodi Christman
  • January 8, 2011: New Street View added by Jodi Christman



Craighead Bridge
Posted October 19, 2017, by george oakley (georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Thanks Julie.That's what it looked like to me.

Craighead Bridge
Posted October 18, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yep just down the creek is a railroad bridge.

Craighead Bridge
Posted October 18, 2017, by george oakley (georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Thanks Luke for identifying the bridge.

Craighead Bridge
Posted October 18, 2017, by Luke
Craighead Bridge
Posted October 18, 2017, by george oakley (georgeoakley492yahoo [dot] com)

I just noticed something.If you look at the satellite picture of this bridge and look to the right,it looks like a railroad bridge crosses this creek also.Just a guess but anything is possible.

Craighead Bridge
Posted October 17, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

There was a celebration of new and old bridges in Carlisle on Friday. Note the irony of the PennDOT engineer speaking. I won't blow it. It says a lot however.


Photo from Cumberland County

Craighead Bridge
Posted June 12, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This montage is by Crystal Hunt.

Leaving the demo funds on the table is ok because it allows us to write for a grant later.

You can't have both, if you take demo funds, you can't take SHPO or state funds that have ties to federal funds. They've figured out that cobbling together funding isn't going to be on their dime.

If you live in the area or have interest in this bridge, we expect that it will be a training bridge. Reaching out to LimeWorksUS for work on the stone abutments.

Craighead Bridge
Posted May 11, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)


That makes sense with respect to insurance. Thanks for clarifying this for all of us.

Craighead Bridge
Posted May 11, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Every bridge has to have some land under it and that comes in different ways. Easements, ownership, donation. The land conservancy is what allows us to open the bridges to use with insurance. The big I in our world. We had an interesting discussion with our provider and are looking for ways to bring it down.

These overhead costs are starting to run up and all of our fundraising for bridges is generally just for parts so we are looking at finding a corporate sponsor(s) that can help us build these heritage bridge parks around the country.

We also need people in each state to help us with local ideas, events, fundraising and the actual site management at a bridge.

Craighead Bridge
Posted May 10, 2017, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Glad to hear the bridge is being saved; I always liked this one! Sorry that the fed funds were left on the table, I hope you are able to succeed without them.


Art S.

Craighead Bridge
Posted May 10, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Land conservancy? Does this mean that there will be some green space preserved around the bridge for use as a park? This actually makes great sense for a bridge that will stay in place for pedestrians. Keep up the great work, Julie!

Craighead Bridge
Posted May 10, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yes, we did. We bought another bridge that is going to stay where it is under the Workin' Bridges Land Conservancy, a part of NSRGA. Wow. We also left federal funds on the table because the hurdles and what ifs with no answer from PennDOT engineers were going to ensure that this bridge was scrapped. So we just bought it and we'll figure it out from here.


Craighead Bridge
Posted January 12, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Interesting discussion of the grating. This problem killed the Willard Bridge in Kansas. Long story short, vehicles tracked salt onto the grate and then the salt worked its way down to the floorbeams, which will eventually result in complete section loss.


Craighead Bridge
Posted January 12, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

If all parts under the grated deck are BAD, if you have to replace all of it, floor beams, stringers, connectors, lateral and diagonal rods, it's expensive. Materials required would be the same for any engineering requirement.

We are seeing less costs on blasting and painting if a bridge is disassembled than doing that in place, but it is still a big part of the equation.

It's not about BACH techniques versus others, these are big projects and they are expensive and to let people think differently would be a disservice.

Each bridge project is different, we scoped this one several years ago, and it was very sad to see the condition, and we see it over and over where grated decking was utilized.

Craighead Bridge
Posted January 11, 2017, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


I don't disagree with you that if Bach's techniques are used and the bridge were returned to 'like new' condition. I also know the preservation conversation didn't make it past the $500K lead paint remediation quote.

However, I suspect that the bridge could be preserved/conserved for lighter load uses (pedestrian/bicycle) for a more modest cost/effort.


Art S.

Craighead Bridge
Posted January 10, 2017, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

If anyone is curious to see the section loss I have more detail photos on my page http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=pe... The open grating is one of the long-standing problems with truss bridges in Pennsylvania. You will note substantial section loss on the floorbeams due to the deck grating as well. Also, Pittsburgh Bridge Company's signature detail of boxing in lower chord connections likely trapped more moisture than other designs. Lastly, this is a very late Pittsburgh Bridge Co Pratt, and although the eyebars are likely wrought iron, other parts may be steel.

Craighead Bridge
Posted January 10, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

this bridge has extensive section loss on bottom chord and all connections. It would require expensive and extended repairs for restoration . Nels and I documented this bridge several years ago

the grated decking killed it.

Craighead Bridge
Posted January 9, 2017, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

There is interest, but the estimates came in too high for the locals to preserve it and I have my hand full at the moment and can't take it on.

It is emminently savable.


Art S.

Craighead Bridge
Posted January 9, 2017, by Jeff McPartland (Jdmcpartland [at] gmail [dot] com)

How important is this bridge to local residents? I like this old bridge which is used as a "cut through" in bicycling in the area and with the bridge closed there is less traffic on the back roads. The main road to Boiling Springs gets busy at times with faster moving vehicles.

Craighead Bridge
Posted December 20, 2013, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Craighead Bridge
Posted December 18, 2013, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Craighead Bridge
Posted July 23, 2013, by Wes B (Hypersonixu2 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Closed today, they were putting the signs in place this afternoon.

Craighead Bridge
Posted July 19, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Might as well pull that plaque off now and use it as a tombstone in Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Cemetery.

Craighead Bridge
Posted July 18, 2013, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

The Craighead bridge has been deemed unsafe:


Craighead Bridge
Posted April 6, 2013, by Jodi Christman (masterofchaos [at] outlook [dot] com)

I like (NoT) how the officials are OK spending $2M, but $600K was too much to rehab this bridge. And why is it these news articles never discuss how long the wonderful, new UCEB bridge will last vs. the rehabbed bridge. Will the UCEB really last 114 years? Doubt it. (ok off my soapbox)

Craighead Bridge
Posted March 30, 2013, by Wes (Hypersonixu2 [at] yahoo [dot] com)