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3rd Street Bridge

Dr. George S. Smith Bridge

3rd Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: November 7, 2015

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
3rd Street Over Lehigh River
Easton: Northampton County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1912 By Builder/Contractor: Luten Bridge Company of York, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Daniel Luten
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
100.0 Feet (30.5 Meters)
Structure Length
300.0 Feet (91.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
76 Feet (23.16 Meters)
3 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

View Historical Article About This Bridge After Flood

This bridge is a noted example of a bridge designed by Daniel Luten. The historic bridge inventory dismissed this bridge as "not historic" because it was widened on one side in 1991, 79 years after the bridge was built. However, this widening project actually represents the intent of the bridge's designer, Daniel Luten. A fierce promoter of the concrete arch bridge, he believed his concrete bridges would last much longer than other bridges, and indeed he described his bridges as "permanent" bridges, while condemning other bridge types as "temporary." Luten was particularly critical of pony and through trusses, because they could not be widened to accommodate future traffic. In contrast, Luten pointed out that a concrete deck arch bridge could be widened without demolishing or altering the original bridge, thus extending the usefulness of the original bridge even when traffic needs increased. That this bridge was in use for 79 years, and was widened in 1991, extending the useful service life of the original 1912 portion of the bridge, embodies the design intent of Daniel Luten. As such, this bridge's alterations might be thought of as a demonstration of one of the benefits of concrete arch bridges. Indeed many bridge types built today can be widened in this manner as well, but in 1912, this was much more uncommon, especially for larger, multi-span bridges.

Indeed this exact bridge was used by Daniel Luten in his advertising. Luten took advantage of the railroad bridge at the same location to contrast the bridge designs. Ironically however, the "temporary" railroad truss bridge also remains today! This bridge does not retain original railings, although they appear to have been lost during a major 1955 flood based on a news article.

Above: The bridge appearing in another Luten catalog.

Above: Previous bridge at this location.


Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 3 span, 300'-long reinforced concrete deck arch bridge was built in 1912 and widened in kind to the downstream side in 1991. Original concrete balustrades and decorative luminaires have been lost and replaced by low paneled concrete parapets topped by tubular metal railings with bar fill. According to District 5-0 personnel, the bridge was reviewed under Section 106 prior to widening, but no finding was located. No matter the earlier evaluation, the bridge has lost the aspects of integrity because of the widening, replacement railings, and modern development of its setting. The bridge is 1 of 15 deck arch bridges built between 1900 and 1915 in the county. Earlier and more complete examples represent the significance of the bridge type.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 6 lane street with 2 sidewalks over a the Lehigh River on the southern end of Easton. A railroad thru and deck truss steel bridge of the Central of New Jersey RR crosses the river and the bridge at a higher elevation. The area is dominated by late-20th-century commercial development and urban renewal. It does not have historic district potential.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Luten


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HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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