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Thanks to a couple older and more significant historic truss bridges being demolished between 2007 and 2009, the Shelocta Bridge is today the oldest metal truss bridge in Indiana County, demonstrating the drastic loss in earlier metal truss bridges such as pin-connected truss bridges that has occurred and is ongoing in Pennsylvania due to a striking lack of historic bridge preservation.
The Shelocta Bridge's evaluation as not historic by the Historic Bridge Inventory should be re-evaluated and found historic as a result of the loss of older and more significant truss bridges in the county. The bridge does also have several features that make it noteworthy. First, it is an excellent example of an earlier state standard plan truss bridge in Pennsylvania. More importantly, it is noteworthy as an example of a state highway department standard plan pony truss bridge in Pennsylvania that uses the polygonal Warren truss configuration rather than the Parker configuration that was used in nearly all such bridges. The bridge retains excellent historic integrity including a fabricator plaque.
The bridge also demonstrates a good low-cost maintenance practice that is sadly very rarely seen, which is where the bottom chord and bottom chord connections and other metal elements near the deck line were repainted (those areas always showing more rapid paint failure and rust) with the rest of the bridge retaining the older paint. This is a good maintenance practice because it costs less money and focuses on the areas that require more frequent paint application, preventing section loss and pack rust and also delaying the time until a complete repainting is needed. It would be nice to see PennDOT employ this technique on more truss bridges elsewhere as well.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The one span, 119'-long, riveted, Warren pony truss bridge with a polygonal top chord is supported on concrete abutments. It was built in in 1929, and it has no innovative or distinctive details. The trusses are traditionally composed with built up members. Neither the bridge nor its setting are historically or technologically significant.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream on the north edge of the borough of Shelocta which is dominated by highly altered early-20th century and later houses and businesses. The village does not have historic district potential.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No
Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):
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