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Mahoning Avenue Viaduct

Mahoning Avenue Viaduct

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 3, 2006 and November 1, 2015

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Mahoning Avenue Over Shenango River and Railroad (Various)
New Castle: Lawrence County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Metal Pin-Connected Pennsylvania Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1923 By Builder/Contractor: Independent Bridge Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Thomas Gilkey
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
307.0 Feet (93.6 Meters)
Structure Length
1,195.0 Feet (364.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
29.5 Feet (8.99 Meters)
3 Main Span(s) and 8 Approach Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

The is New Castle's stunning landmark bridge. With a total length similar to a bridge over a major river, this structure gets its length from a combined railroad-river crossing. It crosses extensive railroad trackage. The center span of this bridge features a bizarre skew like that seen more clearly on the Mill Street Bridge. According to the mill marks on the bridge, the steel on this bridge was fabricated by Bethlehem Steel. There is both lattice and v-lacing present on many areas of the bridge's built-up beams. This bridge is interesting because it is a curved bridge, meaning the road actually curves on the bridge, and as such the truss spans are not lined up in a straight row. This is a spectacular bridge, and a joy to drive across. With the demolition of the aforementioned Mill Street Bridge and other Thomas Gilkey bridges in the county, this large bridge is a last remaining example of the design work by a local engineer who stuck to traditional methods of pin-connected truss bridges far longer than most engineers did. The finding of the Historic Bridge Inventory that this bridge is not historic should be overturned because of the demolition of other Gilkey bridges and also because of the bridge's significance as a substantial engineering achievement by a local engineer.

I didn't get a chance to try for a side view or under-deck view of this bridge. From the sounds of its description, with deck plate girder approaches and "steel bents" for support, the underside of this bridge is likely to be interesting. The steel bents may be v-laced or latticed.

From the deck of this bridge you can view a magnificently beautiful railroad bridge, the P&LE Big Run Branch Railroad Bridge.

Above: Brian McKee visited the bridge in April 2009 and submitted this plaque photo to Bridgehunter.com however it appears to have since been stolen.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 11-span, 1,195'-long, Mahoning Avenue Viaduct built in 1923 consists of 3, pin-connected, Pennsylvania truss main spans of 307', 306', and 227' lengths and 8 built up deck girder approach spans. The substructure consists of concrete abutments and piers with the approaches supported on steel bents on concrete pads. The cantilevered sidewalk is finished with a period metal railing. The bridge was built for the county and the state, and it was designed by Thomas Gilkey who did a great deal of bridge design work for Lawrence County. As a design preference, Mr. Gilkey used pinned connections for his truss bridges through the 1920s. The bridge is a late example of its type and technology, and it is not historically or technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The viaduct carries a two-lane city street and a sidewalk over the Shenango River and numerous trackage associated with the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, CSXT (formerly the B&O Railroad), and Conrail (formerly the Erie Railroad) in the vicinity of the Pennsylvania Railroad's New Castle Junction and the B & O's New Castle Junction and their New Castle yard. It is in New Castle. Most of the rail yard has been removed as what appears to have been a steel or iron mill beyond the west side of the bridge. The setting does not have integrity.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


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Maps and Links: Mahoning Avenue Viaduct

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

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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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