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Iron Bridge Road Bridge

Iron Bridge Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: September 30, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Iron Bridge Road Over Conestoga River
Rural: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1898 By Builder/Contractor: John Denithorne and Sons of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
79 Feet (24.1 Meters)
Structure Length
80 Feet (24.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
15 Feet (4.57 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

Although the historic bridge inventory failed to note the distinctive details on this bridge and therefore did not associate a builder with this bridge, this truss clearly is the work of John Denithorne and Sons. The built-up top chord does not have a typical lattice pattern on the underside, but instead only a couple "X's" spaced apart from each other. Additionally, the vertical members are built-up and are v-laced at the top, but have the unusual detail of using battens instead on the lower part, these battens also accommodating the original pipe railing, which has been removed by alteration. These are all distinctive details associated with John Denithorne and Sons bridges. John Denithorne and Sons was a company that was prolific in southeastern Pennsylvania, but surviving examples are very rare outside of this area. The bridge is significant for its unusual details and also as the work of a builder that apparently played a significant local role in late 1800s bridge construction. Also, Lancaster County has very few pin-connected truss bridges, and so this important bridge type is locally rare.

In 2017, this historic bridge was rehabilitated and preserved as shown in the below photos!

Photo Credit: RETTEW.

Photo Credit: Lancaster County.

Photo Credit: Lancaster County. 

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 1-span, 80'-long, pin-connected Pratt pony truss bridge built in 1898 is supported on fieldstone abutments with wingwalls surmounted by parapets. The truss is composed of builtup members of standard steel sections for the verticals and upper chords, eye bars for the lower chords, and rods for the diagonals. The rolled floorbeams with U-shaped hangers carry steel stringers and a steel grid deck placed in 1975. Pipe railings have been replaced by welded steel channel railings, but otherwise the truss bridge is complete. The pin-connected Pratt truss type/design was popular for use with local roads in Pennsylvania from the 1880s to about 1910. It had reached a high degree of standardization by the late 1890s. This bridge, appropriately located on Iron Bridge Road, is the oldest of 3 remaining pin-connected truss highway bridges in Lancaster County. It is historically and technologically distinguished as a good, complete, traditionally composed example of the pin-connected Pratt truss type/design in the county and region.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural area of active farms and scattered 20th century residences. Fields or wood are to all of the immediate quadrants. The setting does not appear to have historic district potential.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Iron Bridge Road Bridge

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