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Waltz Mill Bridge

Waltz Mill Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 5, 2013

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Waltz Mill Road (PA-3037) Over Sewickley Creek
Location
Waltz Mill: Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1925 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
45 Feet (13.7 Meters)
Structure Length
93 Feet (28.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
20 Feet (6.1 Meters)
Spans
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
64303701600000

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

This historic bridge was demolished and replaced!

This unique bridge is a concrete-encased steel stringer bridge that is noted for its original balustrade-like railings that are unlike some of the more common standard designs found in Pennsylvania. The bridge is also noteworthy for its beautiful brick deck. Brick decks, particularly those not overlaid with asphalt or concrete, are exceedingly rare on today's roadways. The bridge has some unusual details/problems from its original design. Some of the rebar was not fully buried in the concrete, which is the typical practice. Instead, the ends of some vertical rebar in the railing poke up at the top of the railing. Similarly, a section of horizontal rebar rises up out of the top concrete in one section of the railing. These details appear to be original, not the result of spalling after the bridge was built. That said, the bridge does have severe spalling elsewhere on the bridge.

Unfortunately, the bridge has been targeted by PennDOT for demolition and replacement.

This bridge raises an interesting problem with the Historic Bridge Inventory. The inventory comments that the bridge might be locally significant and thus gain National Register Eligibility through that channel, but that more research was needed to confirm. However, the problem is that when the bridge comes up for replacement, PennDOT does not do this additional research and thus treats the bridge as not historic. Therefore, no Section 106 takes place for the bridge, even if it should have. Identifying eligibility through local significance has come up repeatedly as a shortcoming in Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory. HistoricBridges.org recommends either an update to the inventory to review local significance for all bridges, or alternatively that local significance be evaluated by a cultural resources professional on a case-by-case basis as project come forward.

In the case of this bridge, it is unclear if it did contain enough local significance to be eligible. However it did retain all of its original features including railings and brick deck, although the railings were in very poor shape.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The ca. 1925, 2 simple span, 93'-long, encased steel stringer bridge is supported on concrete abutments with wingwalls. The deck is concrete with a brick wearing surface, and the concrete balustrade has a non-standard railing featuring balusters that are flared at the bottom and corbelled on top. Concrete encasement, an early state standard design, was favored because it provided protection for the steel and eliminated the need to periodically paint the beams. It is one of 639 surviving pre-1956 examples. The bridge is potentially significant as an early example of a county-built design, but more research is needed.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a sparsely developed, rural area with scattered 20th century residences, including late 20th century houses at the intersection of SR 3037 and SR 3010. Just north of the bridge, crossing at grade, is one Conrail track, a former branch line of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Possibly

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Waltz Mill Bridge

 
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Maps and Links: Waltz Mill Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

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