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Poplar Neck Bridge

Poplar Neck 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 Schuylkill River
Rural: Berks County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Concrete Open Spandrel Deck Arch, Fixed and Approach Spans: Concrete T-Beam, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1918 By Builder/Contractor: Whitaker and Diehl of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
91 Feet (27.7 Meters)
Structure Length
550 Feet (167.6 Meters)
Roadway Width
24 Feet (7.32 Meters)
3 Main Span(s) and 6 Approach 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 bridge is a concrete arch bridge that was built in 1917-1918. The bridge as originally designed had a narrow 18 foot roadway with metal pipe railings and concrete railing posts. In 1952, the bridge was extensively reconstructed and widened. Essentially everything above the arches was removed and replaced, and a wider 24 foot roadway was placed on top of the original arches. The new deck therefore had to be cantilevered out to be supported by the narrower dimensions of the original arches. The approach spans were also apparently replaced at this time, and a sharp curve at the eastern end was widened.

The previous bridge at this location was a wooden covered bridge that was originally a toll bridge.

All of the history of this bridge is well-documented in the Reading Eagle. Apparently, the folks who conducted the Historic Bridge Inventory were completely oblivious to this fact and actually have this bridge listed as a 1952 bridge which is incorrect.

As it stands today, the bridge is largely unaltered since 1952. It retains the 1952 railings which were a standard ornamental railing in use during that time. While not original to the bridge, they do look nice on the bridge.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 9 span, 550' long reinforced concrete bridge is composed of 3 ribbed open spandrel arch main spans over the river and T beam approach spans. The concrete substructure incorporates elements of the stone substructure of an earlier bridge at the crossing. The spandrel columns are plain, and elongated brackets support the cantilevered deck sections. Built in 1952, the bridge is a late example of its type, and it does not represent the graceful aesthetics that characterize the better examples of the bridge type. It is one of 12 open spandrel arch bridges dating from 1913 to 1955 in the county, and it is not historically or technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream at the Titus Station generating plant. The road appears to be a former state highway that is now bypassed.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


Photo Galleries and Videos: Poplar Neck Bridge

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