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This bridge is a highly significant historic bridge in northwestern Pennsylvania. This bridge features uncommon truss configuration that is becoming increasingly rare truss, the lattice truss. In this case, the lattice truss can be more specifically considered a Quadruple intersection Warren truss configuration. It is a distinctive, recognizable configuration that has a very cool look to it. It really adds to the geometric complexity of the bridge.
With numerous riveted built-up beams on the bridge, there is v-lacing present on the diagonals, bottom chord, and under the top chord / end post. There is lattice on the sway bracing. The portal bracing is a rather plain plate steel design. Connections on the bridge are riveted. The two-span structure is skewed. The bridge is a fairly wide single track structure. Another significant and uncommon feature on this bridge is that is was originally built with a cantilevered sidewalk, something not often seen on a rail bridge. This cantilevered sidewalk had lattice railings. Sadly, the deck for this sidewalk is gone, and the lattice railings have fallen off in many places, and are simply hanging off the bridge.
This bridge is at risk for demolition and replacement. At one time it was thought that as private companies interested in spending money carefully, that railroads would maintain their historic bridges rather than letting them deteriorate and having to replace them which is very costly. However, in the 21st Century a rapid increase in the demolition of railroad bridges has been observed. Often the reason given is that the mainlines are seeing more heavier traffic that often is also taller and may not fit on a through truss. This does not change the fact that a bridge like this is important piece of transportation heritage that deserves to be replaced. However as a private structure owned by a company whose only interest is turning a profit by moving freight, the chance of preservation by relocating the bridge and reusing it elsewhere is almost lower than the chance of PennDOT preserving a historic truss bridge, which is really saying something. The railroad companies sometimes offer the bridges for reuse. However they burden any potential new owner who already is facing the costs of relocation and restoration with the burden of actually paying for the bridge. This is different from public highway bridges that are offered not only for free, but even with assistance funds up to the cost of demolition. Some railroad companies spend untold millions on television commercials that are clearly aimed at improving public relations. Perhaps some of these millions could be spent helping a third party relocate and reuse a bridge like this one. In a new location, a plaque could be erected crediting the railroad company with helping preserve the bridge, making it a good public relations effort for the railroad company.
This bridge is next to another railroad bridge.
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