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Starrucca Viaduct

Starrucca Viaduct

Primary Photographer(s): Robert Theobald

Bridge Documented: Summer 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Erie Railway) Over Starrucca Creek, Railroad, and Highways
Lanesboro: Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Stone Semicircular Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1848 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown and Engineer/Design: J. P. Kirkwood and J. W. Adams

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
51 Feet (15.54 Meters)
Structure Length
1040 Feet (316.99 Meters)
Roadway Width
26 Feet (7.92 Meters)
17 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Drawings, PDF

This magnificent structure stands today, not only as one of the oldest and largest railroad bridges in Pennsylvania, but as one of the most impressive and noteworthy examples of a stone bridge in the United States. The bridge soars 100 feet over the valley it crosses, with semicircular stone arch spans supported by stone piers. This bridge was among the last of its kind to be built in the United States, for soon after, metal would become the preferred material for structures of this size. A mighty structure, the bridge today retains excellent historic integrity and is largely unaltered, yet is capable of carrying four times the weight of any train that would have existed in 1848. This bridge is very impressive in appearance and has been compared to Roman aqueducts in terms of visual appearance. The bridge has received designation as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, a designation that very few bridges receive.

Aside from its size and age, the Starrucca Viaduct is noteworthy for its unique design and construction. Review the Historic American Engineering Record drawings for a description of these unusual and noteworthy details. Among the details, the interior of the arch has voids designed to reduce the dead load on the arch. Also, concrete was used in the pier foundations, which would have been an experimental endeavor at the time. Also, the bridge has a 1 degree incline, but was carefully designed to give the illusion of a horizontal bridge.


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