Finding a long, multi-span pin-connected through truss bridge is becoming quite difficult. Large river crossings tend to be fewer in number, therefore they tend to be busier crossings, and bridges as old as pin-connected truss bridges have mostly been replaced. Indeed, this bridge is fairly busy, but it has been well preserved and continues to function safely and carries non-truck traffic at a four ton weight limit.
The bridge was built by the Lewis F. Shoemaker and Company, Schuylkill Bridge Works, of Pottstown, Pennsylvania. R. G. Devlin was listed as the engineer. Work on building the bridge began on April 25, 1904, and was completed in June 27, and the bridge was opened to traffic on July 23. The overall cost was $62,000. The original wooden deck was installed by Armstrong and Latta of Philadelphia.
This bridge is owned by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC). The DRJTBC has a unique commitment to maintaining the many historic bridges under its ownership, and working with the communities the bridges serve, and sets an example for the rest of the country to follow. The front page of their website often features a photo of a historic bridge, and their slogan is Preserving Our Past, Enhancing Our Future. How many other road/bridge agencies in the United States promote their commitment to historic bridges in this way? Not many.
Not only is the DRJTBC an example of how money might be better spent in regards to non-toll bridges, the DRJTBC bridges are also a great reference when arguing that a historic bridge can be rehabilitated and can also safely continue to function as a vehicular crossing.
The plaque for this bridge is no longer on this bridge and is located in a rather strange place, in the Swan Hotel in Lambertville. The original bridge company's plaque for the 1904 replacement bridge is located there and is used as the firewall for the wooden stove that heats the bar area.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The 1904, six-span, pin connected Pratt thru truss bridge built on the substructure of an earlier wood covered truss bridge is a contributing resource to the New Hope Village Historic District. The bridge is owned by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. It is a free facility.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries a two lane road connecting New Hope and Lambertville over the Delaware River. Both towns are historic districts, and the bridge is a contributing resource to the New Hope Historic District.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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