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Cambridge Springs Bridge

Cambridge Springs Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 1, 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
US-6 / US-19 (Main Street) Over French Creek
Location
Cambridge Springs: Crawford County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1901 By Builder/Contractor: Massillon Bridge Company of Massillon, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1987
Main Span Length
200 Feet (60.96 Meters)
Structure Length
203 Feet (61.87 Meters)
Roadway Width
21.3 Feet (6.49 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
200006090001140

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge, constructed in 1901, was a bridge ahead of its time. Its roadway is wide for a bridge of this age, and its members are quite massive for a bridge of this age. These characteristics make a bridge able to carry even today's fairly heavy US Highway traffic that crosses the bridge, something that would not be true for most 1901 truss bridges. The bridge, with its arch-like shape, complex Pennsylvania truss configuration, and built-up beams with v-lacing and lattice, is a beautiful centerpiece for Cambridge Springs. It functions as a beautiful, historic gateway landmark for the community. The bridge does have some repairs and minor changes that have been made, but the bridge overall retains its original materials and design. The historical photo shown above shows the bridge soon after its construction.

The finding of this bridge as not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places might have made sense years ago when the Historic Bridge Inventory was completed for Pennsylvania. However, the finding is ridiculously outdated in the context of today's dwindling population of metal truss bridges in Pennsylvania. Those truss bridges in the Commonwealth bearing the Pennsylvania truss configuration are particularly hard hit with very few surviving examples. Each surviving example should be considered eligible as an example of a rare truss configuration... a truss configuration first developed and promoted by the historically significant Pennsylvania-based Pennsylvania Railroad. Anyone who makes a different assessment should have their competency questioned. It is hard to imagine a truss bridge type that is more strongly connected to Pennsylvania's heritage than a metal truss bridge with the Pennsylvania truss configuration.

Above: Historical postcard of bridge.

 

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 1901, pin connected, single span, 203'-long, Pennsylvania thru truss bridge is supported on concrete abutments with wingwalls. The trusses have no innovative or distinctive details. The bridge was modified in 1986 when the lower end of all verticals had plates bolted and welded to them and the sub-ties were strengthened by added material. The bridge is not an early or complete example of its type and design, which is not uncommon throughout the state. The altered bridge is neither historically nor technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane highway and sidewalks over a stream in the northeast corner of the borough of Cambridge Springs. The bridge is one block west of the late 19th century central business district, which has historic district potential, but the bridge is not part of the district. In between are mid-20th century buildings and vacant lots.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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