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US-6 / US-19 Venango Bridge

River Street Bridge

US-6 / US-19 Venango 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 (Cussewago Street, River Street) Over French Creek
Location
Venango: Crawford County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1934 By Builder/Contractor: McClintic-Marshall Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Pennsylvania State Highway Department

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1983
Main Span Length
146 Feet (45 Meters)
Structure Length
295 Feet (90 Meters)
Roadway Width
32.2 Feet (9.81 Meters)
Spans
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
200006079013460

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

Drawing

This bridge is one of three similar bridges on US-6 / US-19 occurring within a fairly short distance. The other two are the one near Meadville, and the one near Saegertown.

This particular bridge was fabricated by the McClintic-Marshall Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at their Buffalo, New York Works. The bridge was also erected by McClintic-Marshall, but also with the assistance of an unknown contractor. This unknown contractor was also responsible for removal of the previous bridge. Original plans for the bridge specify field paint to include a first coat of "P. D. H. #8 Sandstone" and the  second coat to be "P. D. H. #9 Drab."

Pennsylvania's historic bridge inventory is a poor way to evaluate whether a bridge should be preserved. Bridges such as this one were not listed as historic, because they feel this bridge is common technology. HistoricBridges.org argues that yes, it was common technology... back in 1930! You don't find bridges such as this one being built on today's roadways. Also, sometimes a bridge is significant, not because it is unique and alone, but because it stands in a group. Such is the case with this bridge, which stands along with two others along this road. Because of their frequency on this road, the entire roadway is a unique bridge experience, that can't be had anyplace else. While aesthetics on their roads is obviously not a concern for demolition-happy PennDOT, it should be. Due to attrition, a scene like this: seeing three multi-span massive-member truss bridges within a short distance is historic. It represents what roads might have been like back to drive on in the late truss bridge era.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 1934, skewed, riveted, 2 span, 295'-long, Pratt thru truss bridge is supported on concrete abutments and piers. The trusses have rolled section verticals and diagonals and built up lower and upper chords. The bridge has no innovative or distinctive details. Built to a state highway department standard design used with great frequency since the mid 1920s, the bridge is an undistinguished example of a common technology. Nor is the highway historically significant. Although now designated US 6, it was not a part of the original highway developed across Pennsylvania's northern tier. In the 1910s and 1920s it was part of SR 5, promoted as the Lakes to the Sea Highway, one of the many tourist trails in the state. Following the adoption of the federal numbering system in 1926 it was renumbered SR 19. Its was redesignated as part of US 6 following WW II.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane highway with shoulders and a sidewalk over a stream at the Venango borough-Cambridge township line. The area does not have historic district district potential. The bridge is not contiguous with the developed portion of Venango borough. To the north are more scattered, predominantly post-WW II residences.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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Maps and Links: US-6 / US-19 Venango Bridge

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