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Swamp Creek Road Bridge North

Swamp Creek Road Bridge North

Primary Photographer(s): Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Bridge Documented: January 21, 2010

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Swamp Creek Road Over Unami Creek
Rural: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Stone Segmental Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1910 By Builder/Contractor: James M. Smith
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
25.0 Feet (7.6 Meters)
Structure Length
98.0 Feet (29.9 Meters)
Roadway Width
18 Feet (5.49 Meters)
3 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is one of two attractive stone arches on this road. While the Historic Bridge Inventory appears to have at first evaluated the bridge as not historic, the Historic Bridge Inventory records finally show the bridge was listed historic in 1988. The two bridges are significant in their own right as historically intact multi-span examples of their type, but they are also noteworthy for being two historic bridges on a single relatively short stretch of roadway.

George F. P. Wanger was the engineer for this bridge and J. M. Smith was the contractor.

As of 2010, while PennDOT's overall historic bridge preservation commitment, particularly with metal truss bridges, is perhaps the poorest in the entire country, some credit is deserved for their choosing to rehabilitate a number of beautiful historic stone arch bridges in eastern Pennsylvania. It is hoped that PennDOT will see the feasibility and value of preserving these stone arch bridges and extend the commitment to a larger pool of stone arch bridges, as well as other historic bridge types such as concrete arch bridges and metal truss bridges.

The Swamp Creek Road Bridges have been selected for preservation and rehabilitation by PennDOT. Transystems (owner of former company Lichtenstein, a firm with noted historic bridge rehabilitation experience) has been selected to design the rehabilitation projects. Credit is given to Transystems for the plans that the drawing on this page was adapted from, and the details of the rehabilitation as outlined by Transystems is shown below.

Scope of Rehabilitation: The Swamp Creek Road over Unami Creek stone arch bridge is 3 spans and 98 feet long.  The scope of rehabilitation includes reconstruction of stone masonry parapets with reinforced concrete cores and full width moment slab and repointing of the arch/ring as needed.  In-stream work includes the placement of rip-rap around substructure units for scour protection and the installation of temporary arch-barrel supports. Temporary stream diversion may be required. (Credit: Transystems)

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 3-span, 98' long and 22' wide stone arch bridge built in 1910 is laid up ashlar masonry is finished with crenellated stones, a common early-20th century detail. The wingwalls flare on one side of the bridge to accommodate the adjacent roadway and are straight on the other side. The roadway face of the parapets have been gunited, and the intrados are parged. The grapevine joints, the parged intrados, and the shotcrete coating on the parapets are alterations of the original design. In this county, with its rich context of stone arch bridges, it is the earlier and most complete examples that best represent the technology. Stone arch bridges were constructed in Montgomery County into the late 1930s. Of the 58 surviving examples in Montgomery County dating from 1789 to 1937, 36 are multi-span, and 37 were built before 1900. Neither the bridge nor its setting are historically or technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a single-lane road over a stream in an area that is densely forested with a few scattered modern residences on large wooded lots . Boy and Girl scout camps are nearby. The area does not appear to have historic district potential.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Stone Arch Bridge Management Plan

Discussion of Bridge

This bridge is recommended for long-term preservation. It ranks in the upper third of all stone arch bridges under study in this plan. The bridge scores high in five codes -- transportation, rehabilitation costs, development, cultural values, and public input. PennDOT has already committed to keeping the bridge, undertaking some repair work. Marlborough Township has also passed a petition in favor of retaining the bridge. The bridge handles its present low volume of traffic well, and as the bridge is located in a low development area, future traffic is not expected to increase significantly. The waterway is also adequate. Cracks and loose stones in the superstructure and minor scour in the substructure will need to be addressed in accordance with the Maintenance Manual developed as part of this plan. The bridge is both listed in the National Register of Historic Places and located in a park, resulting in a high values code. Historic integrity is good, meaning rehabilitation costs are potentially low. There is public support for the bridge (two questionnaires and two emails) as well as the township's resolution.


The Marlborough, Swamp Creek Road Bridge is owned by PennDOT and is ranked 17th.
Condition Code = 44 - low
Transportation Code = 59 - high
Waterway Adequacy Code = 53 - moderate
Cost to Rehabilitate or Replace Code = 58 - high
Anticipated Development Code = 58 - high
Recreational, Historical, and Cultural Values Code = 54 - moderate
Public Input Code = 60 - very high

Recommendation: Recommended for long-term preservation.


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