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Parker Bridge

Parker Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 1, 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
PA-368 Over Allegheny River
Parker: Armstrong County, Pennsylvania and Clarion County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1934 By Builder/Contractor: McClintic-Marshall Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Pennsylvania State Highway Department

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
390 Feet (118.87 Meters)
Structure Length
1140 Feet (347.47 Meters)
Roadway Width
23 Feet (7.01 Meters)
4 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View An Archived Discussion of This Bridge From Disappearing Bridges, a Website That No Longer Exists

It is perhaps fitting this multi-span Parker truss bridge was located in a little community called Parker. The design of the truss spans on this bridge is similar to Tidioute Bridge, an attractive state standard truss plan. The Parker Bridge has a considerable 6.32% grade (slope) to it, which gives it an interesting and unique appearance. It was reportedly an important achievement when it was built, for it to be at this incline. The bridge is painted an attractive sky blue color. This is one of the few pre-1950 bridges on the Allegheny River outside of Pittsburgh to not be threatened with demolition. This is not saying that this bridge is safe from demolition, since PennDOT is turning one of this country's most scenic rivers into a concrete wasteland filled with ugly, modern bridges. When PennDOT runs out of older and more historic Allegheny River bridges to demolish, will this sturdy bridge with ample roadway width be targeted for demolition?

This is one of the longest bridges in the area, since it crosses the river at a wider spot, and also passes over an abandoned rail line at the east side.

The historic bridge inventory provides some good description of the bridge. However, the inventory's finding that the bridge is not significant is outdated in the context of this bridge's size compared against current state populations of this bridge type in 2013. While a number of state-standard truss bridges remain, the number of bridges with more than two through truss spans has dropped dramatically. Also, the Parker Bridge is fast-becoming one of the few remaining metal truss bridges of any kind on this area of the Allegheny River. Like so many of the truss bridges on the Allegheny River, both  demolished and remaining, this bridge is deserving of far more than a scrapyard. Its historic and technological significance needs to be recognized and the bridge needs to be the recipient of a long-term preservation commitment.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The inclined, 4 span, 1,140'-long (2 @ 252', 1 @ 390', 1 @ 225') riveted Parker thru truss bridge built in 1934 is supported on concrete abutments with flared wingwalls and concrete column and cap beam bents on concrete pedestals. The heavy trusses are traditionally composed and were built to a state standard design. They have no innovative or distinctive details. Riveted metal truss bridges, common in the state by the early 20th century, were extensively built in Pennsylvania by the state highway department in the 1920s and 1930s. The span lengths are not noteworthy. Over 90 riveted Parker truss bridges erected after 1925 remain statewide. Neither the bridge nor its setting is historically or technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a two lane state highway and a sidewalk over the Allegheny River and a Conrail right-of-way. Railroad tracks at the east end of the bridge have been removed and a hiking trail has been developed. To the east are an undistinguished brick factory building from ca. 1920 and a small development of post-WW II houses. To the west is a steep, forested ridge. The area does not have historic district potential.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


Photos and Videos: Parker Bridge

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