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Old Gravel Pike Bridge

Old Gravel Pike Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: May 30, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Old Gravel Pike Over Swamp Creek
Location
Rural: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Stone Segmental Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1915 By Builder/Contractor: B. A. Sheeler and Engineer/Design: James Cresson

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
35.1 Feet (10.7 Meters)
Structure Length
101 Feet (30.78 Meters)
Roadway Width
19.7 Feet (6 Meters)
Spans
3 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
46704608800101

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

Although this bridge is among the youngest of the stone arch bridges in Montgomery County, the bridge is still worth noting because it is nevertheless a beautiful multi-span stone arch bridge with stone parapets remaining as well, and it retains decent overall historic integrity. It has been closed to traffic and is listed as having some serious structural problems, but could probably still be preserved, something that the stone arch bridge management plan appears to confirm.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 3-span, 97'-long and 24'-wide, stone arch bridge with asymmetrical span lengths was built in 1915 and is laid up in rubble coursed stone. The arch rings are matched stones, and the piers have cutwater nosing. The wingwalls, with parapets, are flared to accommodate adjacent intersections at both ends of the bridge. It is one of 50 stone arch bridges in the county that date from 1789 to 1919. This example is not technologically or historically significant because it is a late example of its technology in a county with a rich collection of stone arch bridges. It is located outside of any potential historic district in Zieglersville.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a township road over a stream in a wooded setting beyond the 19th century residential core of Zieglersville. The mid-19th century houses to the west of the bridge are a potential historic district. The bridge is separated from the district visually and physically by a wooded area. It is not part of the concentration of 19th century resources that comprise the potential district.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Stone Arch Bridge Management Plan

This bridge is a moderate candidate for long-term preservation. Its condition code is very low. Structural problems, including loose stones, cracks, and scour at the piers, need to be addressed. The transportation code is moderate, a result of manageable traffic volumes and good sight distances at the approaches. However, the bridge stands in an area of rapid development, which could substantially increase traffic volumes, although a bypass carries most vehicular traffic on PA 29, a few yards to the east. The bridge’s waterway is adequate. The bridge’s historic form and fabric is intact, making the bridge relatively inexpensive to rehabilitate. The bridge is individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. It is also part of a planned greenway. The bridge enjoys immense public support (five questionnaires, 24 letters, four emails, one petition, and one meeting at which the bridge was a primary focus).

Recommendation: A moderate candidate for long-term preservation.

Assessment:

The Lower Frederick, Old Gravel Pike Bridge is owned by Montgomery County and is ranked 54th.
Condition Code = 26 very low
Transportation Code = 49 moderate
Waterway Adequacy Code = 53 moderate
Cost to Rehabilitate or Replace Code = 66 very high
Anticipated Development Code = 38 very low
Recreational, Historical, and Cultural Values Code = 62 very high
Public Input Code = 60 very high

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