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This county-owned bridge is historically and technically significant as the longest surviving multi-span Warren pony truss in Pennsylvania. Long multi-span pony truss bridges are more numerous in the state of Oklahoma and surrounding areas, but are nearly unheard of in Pennsylvania, where longer spanning through truss bridges were preferred for longer bridges. The Keim Street Bridge retains excellent historic integrity with no major alterations to the truss noted. Original railing remains on the bridge which includes a single cantilevered sidewalk. The bridge is not built to the popular standard plans that were in use in Pennsylvania at the time this bridge was built. The unusual design is most apparent in the bridge's use of rolled beams for the top chord and end post instead of built-up beams. Indeed, the entire truss web is composed of rolled beams. Also, the polygonal Warren truss design was not used very frequently during this period, with the Parker truss being far more common.
Because of the statewide rarity of a bridge like this one, the preservation of this historic structure should be considered essential. Further, the physical condition of the bridge is not in very bad condition, and the bridge could easily be rehabilitated. Unfortunately however, it appears Pennsylvania wishes to further its reputation for demolishing and replacing its historic truss bridges by doing just that with this rare and significant bridge.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The 8 span, 720'-long rivet-connected steel Warren (with verticals) pony truss bridge, built in 1935, is supported on stone piers and abutments with concrete caps. The truss members are rolled sections, and the bottom chords are composed of channel sections. Rolled floorbeams and stringers support the concrete deck. Angle section railings are fixed in front of the railings, and a metal railing with cast posts along the sidewalk. Although a large example, the bridge is not historically or technologically significant because it is a late and standard application of riveted Warren truss bridge technology.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries a 2 lane road with a sidewalk over the Schuylkill River in a sparsely developed, forested setting at the southeastern end of Pottstown.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Initially No, But Later (2001), Yes (Longest multispan example of this truss type)
Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):
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