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Minersville Bridge

Minersville Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: August 1, 2007

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
4th Avenue (PA-3039) Over Conemaugh River
Johnstown: Cambria County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Metal 14 Panel Rivet-Connected Baltimore Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1914 By Builder/Contractor: Cambria Iron Works of Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
269.0 Feet (82 Meters)
Structure Length
453.0 Feet (138.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
22 Feet (6.71 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 4 Approach 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 the National Register of Historic Places Historic District Nomination Form for this historic bridge.

This is one of the most unusual bridges ever to be seen. The truss structure run either level or slightly inclined, while the deck runs at a noticeable incline through the truss, meaning the deck is not parallel to the chords of the truss. This is not an alteration, and is how the bridge was originally designed. As a result of this bizarre design, there is some very unique details to the bridge. The most obvious is that the higher end of the bridge has less vertical clearance. The builders solved this problem by using a different design of portal bracing at this end, which is a single, solid box beam, which keeps the portal bracing to a minimum. At the lower end where clearance is not a concern, a more standard lattice design portal bracing is present. In addition, the support system for the deck as it runs through the truss varies from end to end. The floor beams rise along with the deck through the panels, but the bottom chord remains parallel. As a result, at the high end, an elaborate system of steel supports and braces connect the deck and floor beams to the bottom chord.

This bridge is, needless to say, among the most unusual of Johnstown's rich collection of historic bridges. It has a high level of historic significance for its unique engineering and design alone. However, it is significant for more reasons than just that. The bridge is significant as a local monument to Johnstown based Cambria Iron Works, a steel fabrication company that was prolific enough that many surviving truss bridges today across the country bear their name on their members. The Minersville Bridge was also apparently actually built by Cambria Iron Works, beyond just fabricating the steel for the bridge. As such, it is a noteworthy memorial to the company. In addition, the Minersville Bridge is noteworthy as a highway truss bridge displaying the uncommon Baltimore truss configuration. Finally, the bridge enjoys even more significance since it is a contributing part of the Cambria City Historic District.

Clearly, this is an important bridge. The routine maintenance and preservation of this beautiful, unique, and historic engineering achievement should come without thinking.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Minersville Bridge


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Maps and Links: Minersville Bridge

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Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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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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