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Darby Paoli Road Bridge

Darby Paoli Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: January 7, 2012

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Darby Paoli Road (PA-1015) Over Little Darby Creek
Rural: Delaware County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
21 Feet (6.4 Meters)
Structure Length
24 Feet (7.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
17 Feet (5.18 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is an example of an arch bridge which has a brick arch ring but stone spandrel walls. It also has an unusual detail on the parapet where the top of the railing has stones that give it a bumpy or even perhaps a somewhat crenelated appearance. Unfortunately someone was allowed to go crazy with the shotcrete around this once-beautiful bridge so in many respects the bridge looks like a concrete arch, with the stone and brick obscured. The National Bridge Inventory gives an 1840 construction date for the bridge which does not appear to refer to this bridge, but may reference a the date for a previous bridge at this location.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The one-span, 24'-long, brick arch bridge, according to inspection reports, has a brick arch ring and rubble masonry spandrel walls and parapets with capstones set in a crenelated pattern. The arch intrados, spandrel walls, and both faces of the parapets have been inappropriately coated with concrete, completely obscuring the masonry. At least two coats of shotcrete are evident, the most recent application dates to ca. 1990. The upstream wingwalls lean outward and have been strengthened twice, once with the addition of stone buttresses (ca. 1950) and most recently by timber braces (ca. 1990). The builder and date of construction are undocumented by available state and county records. The bridge dates stylistically to ca. 1905 based on the 1903-1908 dates of construction of at least 13 identified brick arch bridges in Delaware and Chester counties. There are approximately 25 brick arch highway bridges from 1870-1910 in the state. This short, one-span example has lost integrity of original design. Other less altered examples in the region better represent the technological and historical significance of brick arch bridges within the context of countybuilt bridge types.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries 1 lane of a 2 lane highway over a stream in a suburban setting of residences on large lots. Approximately 50' southeast of the bridge is the gate to Radnor Township Park, located on the the casually landscaped grounds of a former late-19thcentury gentleman's estate. The ca. 1890 Italianate house, "the Willows," has been converted to offices and banquet facilities. The park features gardens, a duck pond, and walking trails. The bridge is located on a public highway that predates the estate and is its northern boundary. It is not historically associated with the estate development. North of the bridge on Darby-Paoli and Brook roads are a series of late-20th-century residential subdivisions.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


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