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Poplar Neck Road Bridge

Poplar Neck Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: February 18, 2013

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Poplar Neck Road Over Railroad (Norfolk Southern)
Rural: Berks County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
67 Feet (20.4 Meters)
Structure Length
68 Feet (20.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
25.3 Feet (7.71 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This is an unusual pony truss whose odd design suggests it was designed by the railroad. It is a double-intersection Warren sort of truss, but floor beams only occur at the locations where outriggers are present, which is every other "X" in the truss web, which is an unusual layout. The end posts are vertical. The composition of the bottom and top chords being of angles and plate gives the bridge truss a flat, two dimensional appearance... this style is usually associated with railroad-designed truss bridges. This is therefore a highly unusual and therefore rare and significant historic bridge. The construction date is unknown. The National Bridge Inventory listed a 1920 date which appears to be too late for a bridge of this design.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 68' long and 26.5' wide riveted double intersection Warren pony truss bridge with squared ends is not a standardized design, and it appears to be a railroad design dating to about 1900. The upper and lower chords are back to back angles with continuous section of plate to which the angle verticals and diagonals are riveted. There are no gusset plates. The built up outriggers are integral with the verticals into which the built up floorbeams are framed. Three thin bands of plate riveted to the diagonals are a railing of sorts. The bridge is technologically significant as a non-standard design of the popular Warren pony truss design and appears to be a railroad design.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a single track of the former Reading RR Belt Line south of Reading. The line is now part of Conrail. The bridge is west and south of I 676 in a rural setting. There is a junk yard at the north end.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


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