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Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Bridge

Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 10, 2008

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Norfolk Southern) Over Susquehanna River
Location
Harrisburg: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and Dauphin County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1924 By Builder/Contractor: James McGraw Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
66 Feet (20.12 Meters)
Structure Length
3507.7 Feet (1069.15 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
51 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

HAER Data Pages, PDF

The current total length of this bridge is unknown, HAER gave a 3507 foot length for the bridge when completed, but noted that "several" arch spans had been added at the east end of the bridge, so the bridge today is a little longer.

This bridge features a staggering 51 semicircle concrete deck arch spans, three more than the famous Rockville Bridge north of Harrisburg, a stone arch bridge that was the longest stone bridge in the world when completed.

This bridge is important, just as its near-twin the Cumberland Valley Railroad Bridge is. The two bridges are together important since they offer an easy way to see how two railroads that competed with each other approached the problems associated with bridge construction.

This bridge, much like its nearby neighbor, replaced a metal truss bridge that sat on stone piers. The existing bridge's concrete piers encase these original stone abutments.

The design of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Bridge differs from the Cumberland Valley Railroad Bridge partially because the railroad wanted to avoid issues with floods washing out falsework which occurred with the Cumberland Valley Railroad Bridge. The design seen with the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Bridge was one that used drastically less falsework.

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