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White Oak Road Bridge

White Oak Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: September 30, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
White Oak Road Over Conestoga River
Rural: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1937 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
102 Feet (31.1 Meters)
Structure Length
103 Feet (31.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
20 Feet (6.1 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI 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 a somewhat late example of a metal truss highway bridge in Pennsylvania. Most truss bridges being built by the 1930s were built to a state standard plan. This bridge does not appear to conform to a state standard plan, however, and instead appears to be a county-designed bridge. This is not the only example of this style and vintage truss in Lancaster County, further evidence that this was a county design.

Lancaster County is unusual because it has far more covered bridges (all preserved) than metal truss bridges, even though covered bridges are from an older era, and are not built of materials that are more durable than a metal truss bridge. The rust on this truss indicates that a preservation commitment is not in place for this bridge. The outdated "not historic" finding for this bridge by the Historic Bridge Inventory needs to be rejected, and this historic bridge should be restored and preserved just like the dozens of covered bridges in this county.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The single span, 103'-long, rivet-connected Warren with verticals pony truss bridge built in 1937 is supported on concrete abutments with flared wingwalls. The truss members are builtup of standard steel sections. Channel railings are set to the inside faces of the trusses. The bridge has been altered by plate welded to the lower chords, upper chords, diagonals, inclined end posts, and gusset plates (ca. 1970). The Warren truss design emerged as one of the most commonly used truss designs after 1895 because of advances in metallurgy and the mid-1890s improvements to field pneumatic riveting. The result was a rapid shift from pinned to riveted connections and the Warren design was particularly well suited for rigid connections. Over 125 examples of the type/design have been identified in the state from the late 1890s to 1956. This late example has no noteworthy features or details. It has been altered by welded repairs. The bridge is not historically or technologically distinguished by its setting or context.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural setting of active farms. At the northwest and southeast quadrants are modern agricultural processing plants in pole barns. At the southwest quadrant is pallet storage. A 19th century vernacular farmhouse is at the northeast quadrant. The setting does not have the cohesiveness or integrity of a historic district.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: White Oak Road Bridge

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