HISTORIC PINE CREEK TRUSS (SILVER BRIDGE) UNDERGOING RECONSTRUCTION

The historic truss (Silver Bridge), carrying River Road over Pine Creek in Porter Township about a mile south of Jersey Shore

The historic truss (Silver Bridge), carrying River Road over Pine Creek in Porter Township about a mile south of Jersey Shore

The historic truss (Silver Bridge), carrying River Road over Pine Creek in Porter Township about a mile south of Jersey Shore, is undergoing reconstruction.Primary contractor J.D. Eckman, Inc. is currently removing the deck system from the truss. Temporary bracing is being installed to facilitate the removal of the truss.

The existing truss will be completely disassembled. Many members that are beyond repair will be replicated in modern structural steel. The decorative castings and lattice work that has been removed or damaged over the years will be replaced. The remaining original members will be repaired if needed, and cleaned and painted. The truss will be reassembled. The bridge will be painted its original silver color. The roadway approaches will be eased to provide better sight distance at either end.

A detour will be placed in early November (currently scheduled to start November 3) for T-349 Pine Creek Ave/T-317 River Road so that a temporary support structure can be built to sit the truss on for final dismantling.

The tentative timeframe for removal of the bridge from its abutments is the week of November 17. There will be three cranes involved; one small crane will be used to separate the bridge truss into two separate pieces, then two large cranes will each swing one half of the bridge to either side of the creek to temporary supports. Final dismantling will then be done. That phase is expected to take three weeks. The township road will be reopened after the bridge is dismantled and sent for repairs and painting. In the spring the pieces will be brought back and the process of reassembly will begin.

Built in 1890, the bridge was closed to traffic in May of 2007 after damage was discovered to the two main girders under the bridge deck.

When the bridge reconstruction is completed, the most-recent 7-ton weight limit will be lifted.

The work is part of a $5.3 million contract, scheduled for completion by May, 2010.

Here are some interesting facts about this lenticular truss:

* Built in 1889 at a cost of $14,480.
* The term lenticular refers to the lens-shaped truss that was patented by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company’s forerunner in 1878.
* The bridge is actually made out of wrought iron, not steel.
* There are only three bridges of this design remaining in Pennsylvania. Of them, this is the only one that will be reopened to traffic.
* Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

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