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Sheepford Road Bridge

Old Forge Bridge

Sheepford Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: October 21, 2013

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Sheepford Road (TR-968) Over Yellow Breeches Creek
Lower Allen Township: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and York County, Pennsylvania: United States
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
112.0 Feet (34.1 Meters)
Structure Length
114.0 Feet (34.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
13 Feet (3.96 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

2020 Update: This historic bridge has been closed to traffic and its future is uncertain. A group has been formed which is working to raise support for preservation of the bridge. They are looking for donations to support the effort. Please visit their page at https://savesheepfordroadbridge.org/ to learn more and donate.

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

This bridge is one of two highly rare and highly historically significant Phoenix column through truss bridges on Yellow Breeches Creek. This one is noted for the use of cast iron portal bracing knees. This bridge retains good historic integrity aside from the apparent replacement of the floor beams and loss of original railings. Any bridge that survives today with Phoenix columns is rare and should be given the highest possible preservation priority. Phoenix columns are historically significant as a unique, patented type of built-up beam. Patented built-up beams and columns did not enjoy use for many years because the use of standard non-patented built-up beams quickly proved both cost-effective and functionally useful as well.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The single span, 114'-long, pin-connected, Pratt thru truss bridge built in 1887 is supported on stone abutments that have been repaired and coated with concrete. The top chords and verticals are patented Phoenix column sections, with eyebars and rods for the pin-connected tension members. Cast iron connecting pieces are used for the compression fitting Phoenix column section members. The floorbeams, stringers, and open steel grid deck were replaced ca. 1975, but the U-shaped hanger floorbeam connections were not changed. The bridge has portal bracing with decorative brackets and builders plaque. The bridge was fabricated by the Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, PA, and erected by their agents Dean & Westbrook of New York. The company was instrumental in refining and popularizing metal truss bridge technology during the last half of the 19th century. The Phoenix column, patented in 1861, was one of the first successful attempts to substitute built-up wrought iron sections for cast iron for use with compression members. Truss bridges with Phoenix column members were used widely by railroads through the mid 1880s and for highway applications through the mid 1890s. It is mostly the later highway examples, such as this 1887 bridge, that have survived in small numbers in Pennsylvania. The bridge is historically and technologically distinguished.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The 1 lane bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a sparsely developed, rural area with scattered 20th century residences. The setting does not have the cohesiveness or integrity of a historic district.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Phoenix Columns


Photo Galleries and Videos: Sheepford Road Bridge


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CarCam: Eastbound Crossing

Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.


Maps and Links: Sheepford Road Bridge

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Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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