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Berne Station Bridge

Berne Bridge

Berne Station Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: May 30, 2010

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Fisher Dam Road (TR-558) Over Schuylkill River
Berne: Berks County, Pennsylvania: United States
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
204.0 Feet (62.2 Meters)
Structure Length
206.0 Feet (62.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
18.7 Feet (5.7 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

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

This historic bridge was demolished and replaced in 2014!

This bridge is an old and an increasingly rare example of a pin-connected Pennsylvania through truss bridge. Pennsylvania truss bridges have ironically become extremely rare in Pennsylvania, thanks to widespread demolition. Although the builder plaque is lost, the bridge appears to be one of the standard designs that the Pittsburgh Bridge Company and its agents Nelson and Buchannan used for longer truss spans such as this. The design of the commissioner's plaque and the portal bracing are the design used by that company. This particular bridge has good historic integrity, with only some scattered repairs and alterations from a 1959 rehabilitation.

This bridge could likely be restored for continued light vehicular use, especially if it were carefully marked and disassembled so that repairs could be made in a shop to the individual parts of the bridge. While this form of preservation sounds expensive, it often can cost less than the cost of a replacement bridge and it results in a bridge that is in like-new condition. However Pennsylvania has decided to continue its trend of widespread demolition and replacement of historic metal truss bridges, failing to give these bridges the same care and preservation that the Commonwealth's overrated wooden covered bridges have received in unfair proportions relative to other historic bridge types. Now, the only way the bridge will be saved is if a third party steps forward to relocate and preserve the bridge elsewhere.

PennDOT comments that the pole railings were added in 1959. However the pole railings appear to be original, with the lower metal guide curb being what appears to have been added in 1959.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The pin-connected, Parker thru truss with subidvided panels bridge was determined eligible as a result of the Section 106 consultation process.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane township road over a river in a sparsely developed, forested setting. The Reading Railroad is to the west of the river and the former Pennsylvania Railroad is to the east. Both were important lines in opening the coal fields. The Reading line is now known as the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern line.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

Information From PennDOT Bridge Marketing Website

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Engineering District 5-0, and Berks County seek an interested party to acquire the Berne Station Bridge. The bridge currently carries Fisher Dam Road and Zweizig Road over the Schuylkill River between Tilden and Perry Townships in Berks County. It is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for its association with transportation and economic development in Berks County during the late 19th century, and under Criterion C as a well-preserved example of a single-span Parker through truss located in a rural setting. The concrete decking on metal deck pans and pipe railings were added in the late 1950s. Due to structural deficiencies, the bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic since 2006.

In an effort to preserve this historic structure, ownership of the bridge will be transferred to an interested party for removal to a new location. The new owner will be responsible for costs associated with long-term maintenance of the span. If your organization is interested in assuming ownership of this historic bridge, please contact Kris Thompson, PennDOT District 5-0 Architectural Historian, at (610) 871-4459 or via email at krthompson -at- state.pa.us.

Bridge Dimensions:
Approximate length: 206 feet
Approximate width, curb-to-curb: 18.75 feet


Photo Galleries and Videos: Berne Station Bridge


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Maps and Links: Berne Station Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

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

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