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Witherspoon Bridge

Witherspoon Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 4, 2006 and May 3, 2013

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Witherspoon Road (TR-861) Over Raccoon Creek
Rural: Washington County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1894 By Builder/Contractor: Nelson and Buchanan of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
93 Feet (28.3 Meters)
Structure Length
97 Feet (29.6 Meters)
Roadway Width
11.5 Feet (3.51 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 displays portal bracing, as well as lateral bracing connection details that are similar to Shanley Road Bridge, and is also even more similar in all senses to the Jantz Road Bridge. As such, it makes sense to assume that Nelson and Buchanan built this bridge. Nelson and Buchanan were agents of the Pittsburgh Bridge Company and they later became their own company. Many of the 19th Century truss bridges associated with them have similar design details. Nelson and Buchanan must have been good salesmen in Washington County, since the company built a lot of pony trusses in Washington County as well. This bridge is a pin connection Pratt through truss bridge composed of six panels. It is in fairly bad shape, and as of 2013 has been closed to all traffic, although it was open back in 2006 when HistoricBridges.org visited the bridge. Considering the bridge's historic significance, beauty, and rural location, it makes sense to instead rehabilitate this bridge so that this area can continue to be an area that feels like you traveled back in time by a century. The tiny amount of traffic that this bridge carries makes this a strong candidate for rehabilitation. The deterioration on this bridge is not so extensive that rehabilitation would be overly costly or difficult.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The single-span, 97'-long and 14' wide, pin-connected, Pratt through truss bridge built in 1894 is supported on ashlar abutments. The trusses are traditionally composed with the floor beams placed above the lower chords. The stringers and deck are wood, and the original lattice railings are inside the truss lines. In a county and region noted for its deep and varied collection of metal truss bridges, this early and complete example stands out. It is historically and technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries one lane of a two-lane road over a stream in a sparsely developed, wooded setting.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Witherspoon Bridge

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Maps and Links: Witherspoon Bridge

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