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York Haven Road Bridge

York Haven Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: May 31, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Old York Haven Road (Old PA-181 Alignment) Over Conewago Creek
Rural: York County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1888 By Builder/Contractor: Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
295 Feet (89.9 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge was built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio, which was the most prolific pre-1900 bridge builder in the United States. Despite the relatively large number of bridges surviving across the country compared to other bridge builders, this bridge on York Haven Road is the only known example of a truss bridge  in the entire country with the Pennsylvania configuration built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company. The Wrought Iron Bridge Company preferred the Whipple truss for long truss spans.

This bridge is thus a nationally significant historic bridge, as the only known example a bridge built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company to this design. The prolific Wrought Iron Bridge Company is a historically important bridge company and this bridge is an essential remaining part of the company's heritage, since it is evidence that the company did construct at least one Pennsylvania truss and the bridge documents how the company went about designing such a bridge. It also shows the versatility of the company; its ability to step outside the box of its standard selection of truss bridge spans, a versatility that likely enabled it to achieve its high level of success. Despite the different truss design, many key characteristics of a truss built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company are present on the bridge including plaques and the connection detail at the hip vertical bottom chord connection. Beyond the association with the bridge builder, the bridge is  also a rare example of a pin-connected Pennsylvania highway truss, and even further rare as a Pennsylvania truss with five slopes to the top chord and end post, making it essentially a Camelback Pennsylvania truss, which is quite rare.

The bridge has an extremely unusual detail where on some panels the bottom chord is composed of both eyebars and a built-up beam (paired angles with v-lacing). Built-up beams like this are designed for compression forces, while eyebars are designed for tension forces. Having both a compression and tension member on the same part of a truss is somewhat contradictory. It is unclear what the thinking was in this decision. Perhaps the designer thought that the sections of bottom chord might sometimes be in compression and sometimes be in compression.

The bridge retains good historic integrity for a bridge overall, but there have been some alterations including a few members that were replaced, some supplemental members added. and a few welded repairs. However these alterations are not sufficient to diminish the aspects of the bridge which give it historic and technological significance.

A replacement bridge was built in 1984 and this bridge was left standing next to its replacement. Although it appears that prior to closure the bridge suffered some modest impact damage to a member from a car the bridge remains in good condition, and could easily be restored for non-motorized use at some point if money and interest arise.


Photo Galleries and Videos: York Haven Road Bridge

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Maps and Links: York Haven Road Bridge

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