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Ostend Bridge

Ostend Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 14, 2008

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Bethlehem Hill Road (PA-3001) Over Chest Creek
Ostend (Mahaffey): Clearfield County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1939 By Builder/Contractor: Bethlehem Steel Company of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Pennsylvania State Highway Department
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
153.0 Feet (46.6 Meters)
Structure Length
158.0 Feet (48.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
23 Feet (7.01 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

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

This bridge was demolished by PennDOT in 2010!

This bridge is a beautiful example of Pennsylvania's standard plan Parker truss, one of several standard plan truss types that the highway department used from the 1920s into the 1940s. Original plans show that the bridge was fabricated by Bethlehem Steel Company at its Buffalo Works. The on-site contractor for the bridge's construction was Guy Trimpey. The historic integrity on the bridge is good, right down to the original lattice railings that remain on the bridge. The bridge is also photogenic, and elevation (side) views are easy to find (and worthwhile) for this bridge. This bridge is also apparently the only highway Parker truss in Clearfield County.

The bridge has been improperly maintained, largely because it has not been painted for so long that there is hardly any paint left on the bridge. As a result, the bridge is now in need of rehabilitation, but not replacement. However, costly and wasteful replacement is likely what PennDOT will seek for this bridge, because they usually ignore rehabilitation alternatives, which can often be less expensive than replacement, even for the Ostend Bridge whose maintenance has been neglected. Once again, PennDOT has failed to make responsible use of taxpayer dollars while simultaneously failing to preserve a historic bridge type that should be among the easiest types of historic bridges to preserve given the two-lane configuration and massive members capable of supporting heavy loads. With listed average daily traffic in 2008 at a very low 394, this 23 foot wide two lane bridge is more than sufficient for the traffic it serves. This standard plan has served far busier roads elsewhere and some of those bridges are actually in better condition. The fact that this lightly used bridge has deteriorated to the point it has speaks to the extremely high level of neglect this bridge has received from PennDOT.

The time for PennDOT to mend its ways and show a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility, sustainability, and preservation is now. This bridge can and should still be rehabilitated to bring this beautiful bridge back to its former glory. Once rehabilitated, by beginning a routine maintenance program, long term costs will be kept down and this historic structure will remain in place for both enjoyment and function.

This bridge is a state standard plan truss bridge. The Pennsylvania Historic Bridge Inventory dismissed nearly all state standard plan truss bridges as not historic and not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, regardless of integrity, size, or construction date. Given the rate of demolition and reduction of surviving examples of this bridge type, HistoricBridges.org strongly disagrees with this finding. It is outdated and further disproved by the fact that other states and other historic resource consultants found state standard truss bridges eligible in other states. The Pennsylvania historic bridge inventory operates on the philosophy that historic significant arises only from innovative, prototypical engineering, and that significance does not arise from good representative examples of structures from a period in history. This appears to go against the philosophy of the National Register of Historic Places which has accepted structures from both catagories in other states. The information below from the Historic Bridge Inventory is provided for structure information and reference only. HistoricBridges.org does not agree with the findings of the below historic bridge inventory assessment.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 1939, single span, 158'-long, rivet-connected Parker thru truss bridge is supported on ashlar abutments that have been capped with concrete. It has built up upper and lower chords, and rolled I section verticals and diagonals. The bridge is a state highway department standard design truss bridge that was used with great frequency beginning in the mid 1920s. It has no innovative or distinctive details. More than 75 rivet-connected Parker truss bridges built after 1925 have been identified. The bridge is not historically or technologically distinguished by its setting or context.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in an area of scattered, undistinguished, predominantly early 20th century residences. Most have replacement windows and siding, and many have enclosed front porches. At the bridge's southeast quadrant is a trailer home. At the northeast quadrant is an early 20th century vernacular residence with asphalt siding. The area does not have the cohesiveness or integrity of a potential historic district.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


Photo Galleries and Videos: Ostend Bridge


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Maps and Links: Ostend Bridge

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

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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 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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