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Rockingham Bridge

Whispering Pines Road Bridge

Rockingham Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: August 2, 2007 and July 6, 2014

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Whispering Pines Road (TR-712) Over Dark Shade Creek
Rural (Reitz): Somerset County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1885 By Builder/Contractor: Columbia Bridge Works of Dayton, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
51 Feet (16 Meters)
Structure Length
57 Feet (17 Meters)
Roadway Width
11.2 Feet (3.41 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge features the distinctive designs that the Columbia Bridge Works employed in its construction. Their bridges can be concisely be described as "weird" in that nearly everything on them tends to be a bit unusual, from connections, to chords, to members, etc. The most common characteristic of the Columbia Bridge Works, and which is shown here in the Rockingham bridge, was the company's early use of rolled beams for major members and chords instead of built-up beams, something extremely unusual for the late 1800s. This practice was not common on truss bridges until the 1920s, and even then, built-up beams were still quite common.

This pony truss also features unusual bolted connection design. This design was sometimes used by other companies at the end posts, but even this was unusual. The extensive use of this connection type as seen on this bridge is quite rare. Finally, the bottom chord is composed of steel plate design, something not found on bridges built by other builders.

This bridge is significant for its unusual design that associates it with a noteworthy company. It is also significant as a bridge that includes not only wrought iron, but cast iron parts as well.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The one-span, 57'-long, wrought- and cast-iron Pratt pony truss bridge is supported on stone abutments. The chords and verticals are composed of I-beams. The lower chords are bars with bolted lap-joint splices. The diagonals are wrought iron rods. The bridge members are joined by a combination of pin connections and compression fittings. The verticals are compression fittings with cast-iron pieces at the top and lower chord connections. In 1967 the open grid steel deck was placed, and the floorbeams received welded cover plates. The ca. 1885 bridge is a rare and complete example of a cast- and wrought-iron truss bridge. It is historically and technologically significant. Based on the details, especially the use of rolled wrought-iron I beams for the compression members and the distinctive lower chord bars with bolted lap-joint splices, the bridge is attributed to the Columbia Bridge Works of Dayton, OH.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries 1 lane of a township road over a stream in a sparsely developed, rural area with scattered 20th century houses and trailers approximately .2 miles west of SR 160. Bisecting the road at grade just west of the bridge is a single active Conrail (former Pennsylvania RR) branch line. The area does not have historic district potential.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Rockingham Bridge

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2014 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2014 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2007 Bridge Photo-Documentation
A collection of overview and detail photos. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original Size photos and Mobile Optimized photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer


Maps and Links: Rockingham Bridge

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