This is a very unusual and noteworthy bridge because the road runs through the middle of the three main truss spans, making the bridge half a deck truss and half a through truss. The unusual half-through design was done supposedly to give the roadway more clearance in the event of a flood, while also keeping the costs of pier construction low by preventing the need for tall piers to keep the roadway high. The through truss spans have a notable 30 degree skew. There also is a standard deck truss approach span for this bridge, and it is skewed at the end which meets the half-through truss spans, but not at the other end. As such, one side of the truss has an extra panel, seven panels on one side, and eight on the other. The bridge also has a couple stringer approach spans.
The unusual position of the road changed the way the bridge itself was configured. The portal bracing is small and compact above the roadway, a single solid built-up box beam, since there was no room for anything more extravagant like the heavy lattice portal bracing seen on other truss bridges from this period in Pennsylvania. Sway bracing above the roadway is omitted with the exception of the struts, which are alongside the lateral bracing, thereby keeping all overhead bracing confined within the top chord's footprint, which prevents any reduction of overhead clearance due to bracing. Underneath the bridge the rest of the sway bracing that stabilizes the structure can be found, and this bracing is arranged much like a deck truss. The railing system on the bridge is original and has no modern additions. This means that on the one side with a cantilevered sidewalk there is a railing on the sidewalk, but not along the truss line, while on the other side of the roadway a railing is positioned on the inside of the truss line.
The initial Historic Bridge Inventory failed to identify the significance of this bridge. Later, Pennsylvania opened its eyes to the obvious truth and declared the bridge eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. This may not be enough to save the bridge from demolition and replacement, which is what PennDOT would prefer to do to this bridge as they develop a project for this crossing, the eligible listing has triggered Section 106 Historical Review, so PennDOT must at least first consider alternatives to demolition and replacement before it can move forward to demolish this bridge. If PennDOT does demolish this bridge it will be a devastating loss. It will result in the destruction of one of only two half-through truss bridges in Pennsylvania. Additionally, PennDOT has systematically been annihilating nearly historic highway bridge on two major Western Pennsylvania Rivers, the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers. At the turn of the 21st Century, these beautiful, scenic rivers were filled with numerous historic bridges, most of which were feasible to rehabilitate and preserve. However, one by one these bridges have been demolished and replaced with extremely ugly modern bridges with no heritage value. In addition, Forest County's historic metal truss bridge population has been hit particularly hard. The Hunter Station Bridge is one of the last two metal truss bridges in Forest County, and the only one currently eligible for or listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.
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