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Birmingham Bridge

Birmingham Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: June 1, 2010

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Irish Flats Lane (TR-512) Over Little Juniata River
Birmingham: Blair County, Pennsylvania and Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1898 By Builder/Contractor: Penn Bridge Company of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: J. A. Patterson
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
142.0 Feet (43.3 Meters)
Structure Length
145.0 Feet (44.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
14.8 Feet (4.51 Meters)
1 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 Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

This bridge is an extremely unusual bridge because it has a very massive design for a bridge of its age and in a relatively rural location, with its end posts width and depth measuring 18 inches by 10.5 inches and vertical members of 8 inches by 13.5 inches. In particular, its portal bracing is very massive. The bridge is also noteworthy for its unusually shallow endpost slope, which supports a compression vertical member and a diagonal brace member running from the middle of the endpost to the bottom chord connection. The bridge today appears to retain good historic integrity. The alteration of the hangers as referenced by the historic bridge inventory, if it really is an alteration and not an original detail, is undoubtedly an old alteration because it is riveted.

HistoricBridges.org has frequently suggested that Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory is overly critical of historic bridges and finds far too many bridges ineligible for the National Register of Historic Places than it should, especially given the number of bridges demolished since the inventory was created. However, there is perhaps no better example of this problem than with this bridge. There are many excellent bridges that the inventory found ineligible from rare surviving bridges, to large examples of a type of bridge, to unaltered representative examples of a bridge type. However this may be one of the only examples of a bridge that was documented by the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) yet was still found ineligible in the inventory. Given that HAER only documents a select number of bridges, either those which are extremely significant or are slated for demolition, and given that this bridge was not slated for demolition when it was documented by HAER, it is clear that this is a bridge with significant historic significance. The fact that such a significant bridge was listed as ineligible in the inventory is extremely distressing.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 145'-long and 16' wide, pin connected Pratt thru truss bridge is supported on ashlar abutments with wingwalls. It is dated 1898 based on the inscription on the masonry abutments. The trusses are traditionally composed, and the portal bracing is finished with a pediment-shaped strut with quadfoil punched decoration. The lateral and sway bracing is deep given the length of the span. The lower panel point has been changed significantly with the original hanger replaced with riveted connections to plates attached to the verticals. The floor beams appear to have been replaced when the connection was changed. The bridge is an altered example of a type and design that is well represented in the region and state. It is not historically or technologically significant because of the alteration to the lower panel points.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries 1 lane of a 2 lane road over a river in a sparsely developed, wooded setting. An intersection with SR 453 is at the east approach.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


Photo Galleries and Videos: Birmingham Bridge


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Maps and Links: Birmingham 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 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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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