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Hull Drive Bridge

Hull Drive Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: October 21, 2013

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Hull Drive (PA-7230) Over Bermudian Creek
Location
Rural: York County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Metal 8 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal 4 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1896 By Builder/Contractor: Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
151 Feet (46 Meters)
Structure Length
223 Feet (68 Meters)
Roadway Width
12 Feet (3.66 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 1 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
38247

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is a rare surviving example of a pin-connected truss bridge in Pennsylvania that includes both a through truss and a pony truss span. This adds a pleasing variety to the bridge design, and offers visitors a chance to compare a through truss to a pony truss. There used to be more examples of bridges like this that combined through and pony spans in Pennsylvania, but nearly all of these have been demolished and replaced thanks to the frighteningly poor preservation track record in Pennsylvania.

The pony truss spans, although both clearly products of the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, were moved here from different locations in 1917 to replace a covered bridge. The through truss at one time had an 1896 plaque on it. The pony truss span may be older, based on its style.

The bridge is unique because it also offers a nice comparison between the standard pony truss and through truss designs that the Wrought Iron Bridge Company offered. Of interest is that over the years from 1890 through 1900, the company went through a few different designs of through truss that were commonly built. This bridge with its a-frame portal bracing, built-up vertical members with v-lacing oriented so it faces the road, and rolled i-beam struts represents the last through truss design the company offered. In contrast, the company apparently stuck with the same design of pony truss with their unusual connection details at the top chord and end post, where the diagonal members connect via a threaded rod with nut detail... at least it would appear this way based on surviving bridges by the company. Only a small number of pony trusses built by this company don't display this design.

As of 2014, this bridge is at substantial risk for demolition and replacement. A project has been proposed to rehabilitate or replace this bridge, and a Section 106 Review process will be conducted to consider alternatives to demolition. Sadly, in the past, this has often resulted in the demolition and replacement of these types of historic bridges in Pennsylvania, despite numerous preservation examples found elsewhere like in New Jersey. In the opinion of HistoricBridges.org the reason for this is inflexibility on the part of PennDOT, and Pennsylvania FHWA to be willing to consider things like design exceptions and flexibility in meeting AASHTO guidelines. Additionally, historic bridges are often evaluated by consulting engineers that do not appear to have the best possible understanding of restoration techniques. This leads to underestimating the condition of the bridge and overestimating the cost of rehabilitation. In recent years, there has been SOME hints of positive change in Pennsylvania's approach to historic bridges, but the state still has one of the worst preservation track records in the country. This bridge would be a great chance for Pennsylvania to try to improve this record. However, doing so requires that all involved parties approach Section 106 with an open mind to trying to find alternatives to preservation. This may be problematic since York County already is assuming this bridge will be demolished and replaced. In their Transportation Improvement Program, they have this bridge listed for demolition and replacement for an estimated $2,251,050. This bridge is in unusually excellent structural condition. As such, the cost to rehabilitate it would be very low compared to many similar bridges. It may even be lower than the York County replacement estimate. This bridge is on a quiet rural road. As such, it is not apparent that a massive two lane modern bridge is needed here to carry large numbers of semi trucks. This is a bridge that is absolutely feasible to rehabilitate. Doing so would be the most responsible use of tax dollars and would preserve an outstanding historic bridge.

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Hull Drive Bridge

 
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Video
CarCam: Eastbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
CarCam: Westbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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Maps and Links: Hull Drive Bridge

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