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Lehigh Street Bridge

Hocky-Catty Bridge / Hokendauqua Bridge

Lehigh Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: May 30, 2010

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Lehigh Street (PA-1014) Over Lehigh River and Railroad
Location
North Catasauqua and Hokendauqua: Lehigh County, Pennsylvania and Northampton County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Metal Pin-Connected Pratt Deck Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Rivet-Connected Through Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1894 By Builder/Contractor: Lehigh Valley Construction Company of South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Rehabilitation Date
1947
Main Span Length
158.0 Feet (48.2 Meters)
Structure Length
782.2 Feet (238.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
23.6 Feet (7.19 Meters)
Spans
4 Main Span(s) and 3 Approach Span(s)
Inventory Number
39101400400744

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

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

View National Bridge Inventory PDF Sheet For The Pony Truss Span - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View National Bridge Inventory PDF Sheet For The Concrete Encased Stringer Span - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View A Historical Article About This Bridge

This historic bridge was demolished and replaced!

This bridge is currently listed on HistoricBridges.org as a single bridge, but technically it is three bridges because the westernmost two spans are seperated by short sections of land. Note that the technical facts above refer to the Lehigh River Bridge. From west to east there is a three span concrete stringer crossing a rail-trail. This bridge was built in 1933. The bridge has good historic integrity and includes original standard plan balustrade railings. Next, there is a riveted Warren pony truss bridge with massive members and fairly shallow truss depth. Next, there is an intersection with Water Street to the left (north) which curves and passes under the next bridge. The next bridge that Lehigh Street Crosses is the main bridge over the Lehigh River. Between the pony truss and the main bridge, the road makes a sharp bend. The main bridge over the river from west to east consists of a deck plate girder approach span over Water Street, four large deck plate girder main spans with pinned connections, followed by a through plate girder span over railroad and a final deck plate girder span. While the bridge  is traditionally composed in terms of member design and truss configuration, pin-connected deck truss, particularly on highways, are not common in Pennsylvania.

The bridge over the Lehigh River is listed on some PennDOT materials as the "Hocky-Catty Bridge" however if this is a name for the bridge it is apparantly a historic name and hardly ever used. News articles regarding the bridge name it as the Hokendauqua Bridge, or the Lehigh Street Bridge.

Although initially determined not historic based on the narratives in the Historic Bridge Inventory, the main bridge over Lehigh River appears to have been later determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, since it was tagged as "eligible" in the same inventory, as well it should be. The sufficiency rating for this bridge was extremely low along with low condition ratings. Low ratings in the National Bridge Inventory do not nessecarilly mean that rehabilitation is not possible or appropriate, although usually they are usually interpreted by owner agencies as a need to demolish and replace, regardless of any alternatives to demolition. Given PennDOT's past record at preservation, it would seem all hope was lost for this important bridge. Indeed, in 2010, HistoricBridges.org received word that PennDOT is proposing to demolish and replace all three bridges. It is not apparant that  PennDOT is recognizing the historic determination outlined in the inventory.

Some sources suggested this bridge was built in 1908 by the American Bridge Company. However a historical text from 1894 that includes photos show that the bridge was built in 1894. The 1908 American Bridge contract may have been an alteration to the bridge. For example, it appears that a pony truss approach span was later replaced by a through plate girder approach span. The historical 1894 article states that the Pennsylvania Steel Company of Steelton, PA was the fabricator of the bridge, while the Lehigh Valley Construction Company of South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania was the general contractor. Thanks to Richard M Bach for providing the lead to this article.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory - Main Bridge (39101400400744)

Discussion of Bridge

The 7 span, 782'-long viaduct built in 1908 is composed of 4 deck truss spans, 2 deck girder spans, one at each end, and 1 thru girder span at the east approach. The abutments and piers are stone masonry. The trusses are pin-connected Pratt trusses with built-up members. The bottom chord and several diagonal members are eyebars. The deck and thru girders are also built-up and have rolled floorbeams and stringers. The concrete roadway slab and bridge railings were replaced in 1947 when the deck was widened with cantilevered sections and the metal railings were placed. The bridge is a large example but late example if its type, and it is not historically or technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road and a sidewalk over the Lehigh River between Hokendauqua and North Catasauqua. On the east side of the river, the bridge spans over a city street and the abandoned right of way of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. On the west side, the bridge spans over an active track of Conrail, the former Central RR of New Jersey, and the Lehigh Canal right-of-way that is a National Register-listed historic district (listed 12/17/79) with a period of significance from 1840 to 1931, the active years of the canal. There are 19th century houses along the west bank, but they are too highly altered to have historic district potential.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Initially No, But Listed As Later Evaluated As Historic

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory - Pony Truss Bridge (39101400400503)

Discussion of Bridge

The skewed and inclined, single-span, 118'-long, riveted Warren with verticals pony truss bridge built in 1908 is supported on concrete abutments. The built-up floorbeams and rolled stringers are encased in concrete.The trusses are composed of built up members, and they exhibit no distinctive or innovative details. The floor beams are above the lower chords. The bridge originally carried trolley traffic, and the members are sized accordingly. It is an example of a technology that was common by 1908, and neither it nor its setting are historically or technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road and a sidewalk over an abandoned railroad right of way in a wooded setting. The rail line was operated by the Ironton Railroad and later Conrail as a several-mile-long short line that connected Catasauqua with quarries and mines in the Ironton vicinity. To the west, the line joined Reading and Lehigh Valley railroad lines. Nineteenth century houses are west of the Lehigh and Reading lines.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory - Stringer Bridge (39101400400310)

Discussion of Bridge

The 3 span, 102'-long, encased steel stringer bridge is supported on a concrete substructure and has standard design concrete balustrades. Concrete encasement was favored in the state because it provided protection for the steel and eliminated the need to periodically paint the beams. A representative example of one of the most common, mid-20th century bridge types and designs in the state, it has no innovative or distinguishing details. It is one of 639 surviving pre-1956 examples. The bridge is not historically distinguished for its association with the railroad, and is a representative example of 1910s to 1940s grade-crossing elimination structures. Neither the bridge not its setting are historically or technologically noteworthy.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over an abandoned railroad right of way in suburban setting of post-World War II residences. The area does not appear to have historic district potential. The rail line was operated by the Ironton Railroad and later Conrail as a several-mile-long short line that connected Catasqua with quarries and mines in the Ironton vicinity. Just south of the bridge the Ironton Railroad joined Reading and Lehigh Valley railroad lines. The abandoned right of way does not appear to have historic or technological significance.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Lehigh Street Bridge

 

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Maps and Links: Lehigh Street Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

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Search For Additional Bridge Listings:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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