HistoricBridges.org Menu: HistoricBridges.org Menu:


We Recommend These Resources:
Bach Steel - Experts at historic truss bridge restoration.

HistoricBridges.org: Bridge Browser

Kinzua Bridge

Kinzua Viaduct

Kinzua Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 22, 2021

View Photos
and Videos
View Maps
and Links

Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Rail-Trail, Former Erie Railroad) Over Kinzua Creek
Location
Rural: McKean County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1900 By Builder/Contractor: Elmira Bridge Company of Elmira, New York

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
2011
Main Span Length
60 Feet (18.3 Meters)
Structure Length
2,053 Feet (625.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
21 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

Although the center-section of this otherwise preserved monumental high level railroad bridge was destroyed in a 2003 tornado, the bridge remains a major regional attraction. The current bridge replaced a very delicate Phoenix column deck truss bridge (built 1882) that recieved a lot of engineering attention when it was built due to its length and height: the bridge was the tallest and longest railroad bridge in the world when completed until the Garabit Viaduct in France was completed in 1884. Even the current bridge, when it replaced the Phoenix bridge, was still an engineering achievement and its construction also was covered in engineering periodicals of the time.

The bridge closed to freight trains in 1959 and shortly after was reopened for pedestrian use and use by a tourist railroad, and a state park was created around it. The center section of the bridge collapsed in 2003 when it was hit by an F1 tornado. At the time, a rehab of the bridge was in process, including new anchor bolts added to secure the bents. The spans of the bridge that collapsed had not yet been repaired. It is believed the repaired sections survived the tornado because those repairs had been completed in those spans. The state responded to this disaster in the best way possible. Rather than demolish the remainder of the bridge, the surviving sections were converted into a scenic lookout, so even though you cannot walk all the way across the bridge, you can still appreciate the spans that remain and still offer a spectacular view. Another nice thing that was done is that the collapsed sections were left in place, making this bridge a unique place to observe what a massive bridge collapse looks like. It would appear that the collapsed sections are kept clear of vegetation and growth as the 2021 field visit revealed that the collapsed sections remained visible with no obstruction. While the collapse was unfortunate, the way in which the park moved forward after the collapse kept this bridge and park as a unique destination that remains a very popular attraction today.

Note: The 21 span count given on this page references spans between bents. Some engineers count the girders over the bents as spans as well (41 spans total in that case). The highest elevation of the bridge above the valley is 301 feet.

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

View Detailed Historical Articles About This Bridge

View National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form For This Bridge

Above: Historical photo showing previous bridge at location.

Above: Historical photo showing bridge construction. Old bridge to left, current bridge to right.

Above: HAER photo showing current bridge before collapse.

Divider

Photo Galleries and Videos: Kinzua Bridge

 
View Photo Gallery
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
View Photo Gallery
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

Divider

Maps and Links: Kinzua Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

View Bridge Location In:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within a half mile of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles of this bridge.

Google Maps

Google Streetview (If Available)

Bing Maps

OpenStreetMap

Apple Maps (Via DuckDuckGo Search)

Apple Maps (Apple devices only)

MapQuest

HERE We Go Maps

ACME Mapper

Waze Map

Android: Open Location In Your Map or GPS App

Flickr Gallery (Find Nearby Photos)

Wikimedia Commons (Find Nearby Photos)

Directions Via Sygic For Android

Directions Via Sygic For iOS and Android Dolphin Browser

USGS National Map (United States Only)

Historical USGS Topo Maps (United States Only)

CalTopo Maps (United States Only)


Divider
 
Home Top

Divider

About - Contact

© Copyright 2003-2021, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.

Admin Login

Divider