This viaduct crosses the Shanango River, a Garfield Street on the eastern end, and originally crossed two railroads, one on each side, which have since been abandoned. The Viaduct structure is 718 feet in length, but including a 111 foot earthen approach, totals 825 feet. The bridge consists of a 202 foot truss main span with a series of steel stringer approach spans on either side of the truss, each measuring approximately 57 feet. The bridge was designed by the Pennsylvania State Highway Department and fabricated by the Bethlehem Steel Company.
The structure originally included decorative balustrade railings, decorative lighting standards, and a stairway near the western end of the Viaduct. Unfortunately, in 1982, the entire deck was replaced, and the original railings and standards were destroyed. The stairway does not appear to remain either.
Deck truss bridges are far less common than pony truss and through truss bridges. As such, each surviving example of a deck truss should be given a greater level of significance. Although the West Middlesex Viaduct has been altered, the superstructure of the main truss span remains intact.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The 1941, 10 span, 718'-long viaduct with a 202'-long, riveted Pratt deck truss main span is supported on concrete abutments and concrete two column and beam cap beam bents. The approach spans are steel stringers. The concrete parapets and deck date from 1982. Although a long example of a riveted deck truss, the main span has no innovative or distinctive details, and it is an example of common period technology. The bridge is neither historically nor technologically significant.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The viaduct carries a two lane street and sidewalk over a stream and two abandoned railroad right-of-ways (formerly Erie and Pennsylvania railroads) of each side of the river in West Middlesex borough. All tracks have been removed. The viaduct is out of scale with the commercial area to its east that is dominated by parking lots and late 20th century infill buildings. There are also scattered 19th century commercial buildings. The area does not have historic district potential.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.
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