HistoricBridges.org Menu: HistoricBridges.org Menu:

We Recommend These Resources:
Bach Steel - Experts at historic truss bridge restoration.

HistoricBridges.org: Bridge Browser

Penn Street Bridge

Penn Street Viaduct

Penn Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: May 30, 2010

View Photos
and Videos
View Maps
and Links

Key Facts

Reading: Berks County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Concrete Open Spandrel Deck Arch, Fixed and Approach Spans: Concrete Open Spandrel Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1913 By Builder/Contractor: L. H. Focht and Son and Engineer/Design: Benjamin Herman Davis

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
110 Feet (33.5 Meters)
Structure Length
1,337 Feet (407.5 Meters)
Roadway Width
55 Feet (16.76 Meters)
5 Main Span(s) and 22 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

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

This beautiful bridge forms a gateway and centerpiece for east-west travel in and out of Reading. Constructed in 1913, the bridge is a relatively old surviving example of its kind, and it retains good historic integrity including original ornate concrete railings. The five main spans are open spandrel arches, and the oldest examples in Berks County of this bridge type. The National Bridge Inventory lists 22 approach spans, but 9 of those are closed spandrel arch spans. Given its integrity, age, size, and function as a centerpiece for the city this bridge should receive a high level of preservation priority.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 14 span, 1,336'-long viaduct is composed of 5 ribbed open spandrel arch spans with a 110' clear span and 9 closed spandrel arch approach spans. They have a 48' long clear span. The open spandrel spans have three ribs given the 80' width of the bridge, which is finished with handsome reticulated-pattern balustrades. The bridge was built in 1913, and it is the oldest of the 12 open spandrel arch bridges in the county. Penn Street is Reading's main east-west street, and the bridge is an excellent and complete example of the City Beautiful philosophy. It is historically and technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 4-lane city street and sidewalks over the river and the former right-of-way of the Reading RR on the east (Reading) side. The tracks have been removed, and the old buildings in downtown Reading were removed as part of an urban renewal program. The area has been redeveloped with modern high-rise buildings along the east side. The west end is part of the interchange with US 422.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Penn Street Bridge

View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer


Maps and Links: Penn Street Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

View Bridge Location In:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within a half mile of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles of this bridge.

Google Maps

Google Streetview (If Available)

Bing Maps


Apple Maps (Via DuckDuckGo Search)

Apple Maps (Apple devices only)


HERE We Go Maps

ACME Mapper

Waze Map

Android: Open Location In Your Map or GPS App

Flickr Gallery (Find Nearby Photos)

Wikimedia Commons (Find Nearby Photos)

Directions Via Sygic For Android

Directions Via Sygic For iOS and Android Dolphin Browser

USGS National Map (United States Only)

Historical USGS Topo Maps (United States Only)

CalTopo Maps (United States Only)

Home Top


About - Contact

© Copyright 2003-2022, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.

Admin Login