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Sheep Bridge

Sheep Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: May 31, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Sheep Bridge Road (PA-4021) Over Conewago Creek
Rural: York County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1889 By Builder/Contractor: Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
181 Feet (55.2 Meters)
Structure Length
186 Feet (56.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
12.5 Feet (3.81 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 bridge was built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio, which was the most prolific pre-1900 bridge builder in the United States. This bridge is an outstanding example of a Whipple truss built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, which strongly preferred the Whipple truss for longer truss spans, and over the period of their operation had several different designs of Whipple truss they used. This bridge is an example of one of their traditional designs they employed. All of the essential details remain including plaques, orientation of v-lacing on the vertical members such that it is parallel to the truss web, and the use of the four-pronged "claw" eyebar for the hip vertical bottom chord connection.

The bridge was rehabilitated in 1950. In 2010, PennDOT again undertook a rehabilitation of this historic bridge to correct deficiencies in the structure, repaint the truss, reconstruct the deck, and preserve the historic character of the bridge. The rehabilitation project appears to be a well-designed project that is respectful to the historic integrity of the bridge. An attractive blue paint color was selected for the bridge as well. The exemplary rehabilitation of this historic bridge is a win-win scenario that preservationists, PennDOT, and the general public can all appreciate and be proud of. Hopefully the successful rehabilitation of this bridge will serve to inspire PennDOT to carry out similar projects elsewhere in the Commonwealth. In any case, PennDOT deserves to be thanked for choosing to preserve this historic bridge.


Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The single span, 186'-long, pin-connected, double intersection Pratt (or Whipple) thru truss bridge built in 1889 is supported on ashlar abutments. The bridge has eye bar lower chords and built-up upper chords of standard metal sections. The eye bar diagonals extend across two panels. U-shaped hangers carry rolled section floorbeams, steel stringers, and an open grid deck placed in 1950. It has double-loop floorbeam hangers in the end panels, a detail associated with Wrought Iron Bridge Co. bridges. It has lattice portals with builders plaques and medallions with the "1889" date. Original railings have been replaced by welded channel railings (ca. 1950). W-beam guide railings have been placed to the inside of the channel railings (ca. 1980). The survey has identified fewer than 10 pre-1890 Whipple truss bridges. This is one of two complete examples in York County (the other is BMS# 66 4017 0030 0000, built in 1884), both fabricated by the Wrought Iron Bridge Co., one of the nation's leading late-19th-century metal bridge builders. The bridge is a historically and technologically significant example of its type/design.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The 1 lane bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a sparsely developed, forested setting. The setting does not appear to have historic district potential.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Sheep Bridge

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