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Jersey Bridge

Jersey Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 1, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Drake Well Road (PA-1011) Over Oil Creek
Rural: Venango County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1882 By Builder/Contractor: Morse Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
135 Feet (41 Meters)
Structure Length
140 Feet (43 Meters)
Roadway Width
11.5 Feet (3.51 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

View a PDF Archive of Comments From Daniel Alward

The truss structure seen here is a rare example of a through truss built by the Morse Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio, which later became the Youngstown Bridge Company. The Morse Bridge Company is one of the most fascinating bridge companies ever to have existed because unlike other bridge companies, this company did not stick to a small variety of standard bridge designs, in terms of built-up beam designs and aesthetic treatment. Instead, the company designed bridges with a wide variety of exact member designs. The bridges also usually feature a wide variety of varied aesthetic treatment. Morse Bridge Company aesthetics were usually not superficial, but instead were functional decorations with a decorative portal bracing of any number of styles being the most common treatment. The Jersey Bridge actually stands out as one of the company's more unadorned bridges, although it is still beautiful by way of its traditionally composed trusses with built-up beams containing v-lacing and the lattice portal bracing.

This bridge is noteworthy from a preservation standpoint. While not a true example of preservation, it does represent one of the broad spectrum of alternatives available to complete demolition and replacement of a historic bridge. When a historic bridge cannot be preserved in its entirety and needs to be replaced, this is a good example of a compromise that retains a significant portion of the original bridge materials. This solution seen at this bridge is a good example of the spirit and intent of the Section 106 process being followed when it is determined that bridge replacement is the only acceptable alternative.

This bridge demonstrates a scenario where the truss webs and the bracing is placed on top of a replacement bridge, and although the roadway width remains the same, the new bridge is wider because a sidewalk was added. Other approaches to installing a new loadbearing bridge include adding a steel arch within the truss lines, placing stringers below the existing bridge's floorbeams, or first removing the floorbeams and deck system and placing stringers within the footprint that was occupied by the floorbeams, which is similar to this bridge, but in some cases part of the floorbeams are retained to give a greater sense of the original bridge's function. The original bridge width would be maintained in this solution. The solution seen on this bridge obstructs the view of the trusses somewhat, however it does not require alteration of the floorbeams or other parts of the truss, so original materials remain on the bridge.

This bridge sits at a historic location, near the site where Edwin Drake was the first person credited to use a drill to find oil, an effort made successful by his idea of driving pipe into the ground to stabilize and contain the hole being drilled. The location is often called the birthplace of oil. 


Photo Galleries and Videos: Jersey Bridge

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