This bridge was photographed by HistoricBridges.org a mere two weeks before July 10, 2006 when this bridge was closed, turned into scrap metal, and replaced by a mundane modern bridge. A rather unimpressive painted sign posted near the bridge said the bridge would be closed for replacement on July 10th. The photo to the right taken by Terry Kerr shows the bridge at 2:00 AM the morning of July 10th.
This bridge was a four panel half-hip pony truss. It featured riveted connections, and is an early example of riveted connection technology for its 1902 construction date. It featured v-lacing on the vertical members. The bridge was posted at a 10 ton weight limit before being demolished.
Pennsylvania's historic bridge inventory was too conservative in picking which bridges are historic and which ones were not. Far too many metal truss bridges with heritage value were considered non-historic by the survey. With that in mind, that means that any bridge the survey considered historic must be particularly significant. Indeed, the Caldwell Bridge was one of those bridges actually listed as historic by the survey! As such, if any bridge should have been preserved, it should have been this bridge. In addition, the 2002 traffic count for Hoon Road was only 100 cars a day, which is a very low count. It does not justify a large modern bridge. Do to its small size, low traffic volumes, and historic nature it would have been inexpensive and logical to restore this bridge. However, large or small, Pennsylvania is bent on demolishing its historic metal truss bridges. This is unfortunate, since their bridges are (or were) unparalleled in variety and design. If they would instead embrace a massive preservation program, they could turn their state into a major tourist destination for engineers, photographers, and people simply looking for a scenic landscape. They would also improve the Commonwealth's infrastructure likely for less money than it costs to demolish and replace everything. These metal truss bridges compliment the scenic Pennsylvania landscape perfectly.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The 1902, riveted, single span, 61'-long, Pratt pony truss bridge is supported on ashlar abutments with wingwalls. The upper chords are built up box sections, the lower chords are channels with battens, and the verticals and diagonals are angles with battens. The bridge, one of nine riveted Pratt pony truss bridges from the early 20th century remaining in Butler County, is historically and technologically significant as an early, complete example of its technology. It represents the transition from pinned to riveted field connections in highway applications.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries a single lane road over a stream in a rural area with scattered, undistinguished 20th century residences just east of SR 38. The setting does not have historic district potential.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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