This bridge is one of only three concrete cantilever girder bridges known to HistoricBridges.org. One of the other two is also right here in Lancaster County on Lime Valley Road. Both should be considered nationally significant as one of the only examples nationwide of a bizarre bridge type. This three span bridge's cantilever design expresses itself most strongly in the end spans. True to the cantilever concept, the end spans are only supported at one end, which is the piers of the bridge. The center span balances the weight out. As such, the bridge has the unusual appearance and function of having end spans that do not rest on the abutments at all! Indeed a small gap can be seen between the ends of the superstructure and the abutments, making it clear that the abutments do not physically touch the superstructure! The abutments serve only as retaining walls to hold the approaching roadway together. It should be noted that an alteration to this bridge added some steel posts to the abutment under the end spans.
This bridge is the older of the two Lancaster County examples. Both should receive the highest preservation priority. Lancaster County is home to a ridiculous number of preserved wooden covered bridges, so asking to preserve two historic concrete bridges surely is not asking to much is it? It may be. PennDOT is conducting Section 106 and while it is hoped PennDOT will give a good faith effort to find an alternative that avoids demolition of this bridge, past experience has indicated that often their effort falls short.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The 3-span, cantilevered, variable depth, reinforced concrete slab bridge was National Register-listed as a result of the previous survey. The bridge is an unusual design, and has a high degree of technological significance. The plain concrete parapets have been cut down over the western wingwalls. The concrete rail has been lost from the northwest corner of the cantilevered end span.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural setting with the 1856 Brownstown grist mill at the southeastern quadrant. At the west end is a T-shaped intersection and an area of post-1950 housing.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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