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Mifflintown Bridge

   
                  


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Bridge Documented: June 1, 2010
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Key Facts
Bridge Name Facility Carried / Feature Intersected Location Structure Type Construction Date and Builder/Engineer
X Mifflintown Bridge
Bridge Street / Main Street (PA-35) Over Juniata River Mifflintown and Mifflin: Juniata County, Pennsylvania Metal 9 Panel Rivet-Connected Parker Through Truss, Fixed 1937 By Builder/Contractor: Whitaker and Diehl of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Pennsylvania State Highway Department
Technical Facts
Rehabilitation Date Main Span Length Structure Length Roadway Width Main Spans NBI Number
1972 172 Feet (52.4 Meters) 690 Feet (210.3 Meters) 23.6 Feet (7.2 Meters) 4 34003505300000

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

This Bridge No Longer Exists!

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

View The Official Demolition and Replacement Project Website

Download An Archive Of All Documents Relating To The Project Development

This historic bridge is slated for replacement and demolition by PennDOT!

This bridge is an excellent, laregly unaltered example of a state standard truss bridge in Pennsylvania. The bridge retains original vehicular and pedestrian railings. The only major alteration is the repair of the bottom portion of truss members with bolts and plates. The bridge is an increasingly rare example of a state standard truss bridge in Pennsylvania that exceeds three spans. The larger state standard plan truss bridges have seen a higher demolition rate than some of the shorter examples. The bridge is a very attractive structure with its complex trusses, and is located right on the main street of two small communities and is positioned as such that it is easy to view and enjoy.

PennDOT wants to build a new bridge a significant distance south of the truss bridge. There is nothing really wrong with this in and of itself, however PennDOT has a habit of refusing to leave a historic bridge standing after a replacement has been built, even when the historic bridge is not in the way of its replacement. Demolishing these bridges represents a massive waste of heritage and also money, to simply demolish a bridge for no other reason than to wipe it off the face of the earth. It is frustrating enough when this sort of thing happens. However, it gets worse. Not only does PennDOT want to demolish the historic truss bridge, they want to build a pedestrian bridge in its place because many members of the local community use the bridge as pedestrians and the location of the new bridge is too far away to be useful for pedestrians. This is one of the most ridiculous things ever proposed! The existing bridge is carrying 8000+ cars a day with no posted weight limit. According to the National Bridge Inventory, there is nothing severely wrong with this bridge. HistoricBridges.org provides a detailed NBI sheets, the facts speak for themselves. Once vehicular traffic is removed from the bridge, the existing bridge would probably stand as a  functional pedestrian bridge for decades with little to no work at all. There is absolutely no need to squander taxpayer dollars and destroy history by demolishing the beautiful truss bridge and constructing an expensive pre-stressed slab of concrete for pedestrian use only! Such a proposal is so absurd its hard to believe it was even considered, let alone accepted as the solution!

If nothing else, simply leave the historic bridge standing for pedestrian use as it is. And if 20 years down the road, the bridge decays to a serious point, then they could still choose to tear the bridge down and build a new bridge. At the very least, why not at least continue to use the existing bridge until its service life has ended? By the way, if instead they chose to go above and beyond the call of duty and PennDOT instead restored the existing truss bridge for pedestrian use, you could probably forget about the idea of "service life" since as long as paint was kept on it and the substructure maintained, the bridge could have an indefinite life as a pedestrian bridge.

The not eligible finding for this bridge by the Historic Bridge Inventory reflects the findings of a 1996 survey when there were many more examples of this bridge type than exist today. The bridge today should be reevaluated as eligible as an unaltered, long multi-span example of a 1930s state standard plan for truss bridges. The number of remaining examples of state standard plan truss bridges that exceed three through truss spans has dropped dramatically since 1996.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 690'-long, steel, Parker thru truss bridge, built in 1936, is composed of four equal spans of approximately 172.5' long each. The trusses are rivet-connected and composed of standard steel members, including built-up chords and rolled-beam verticals and diagonals. The bridge is supported on concrete piers and stone abutments. A sidewalk is cantilevered off of the north side of the bridge. The concrete deck was replaced in 1972, but no other major alterations are noted. The Parker truss design dates to the 1870s and is a variation of the Pratt with a polygonal top chord. The design was used by the state highway department throughout the early to mid-20th-century as an economical alternative to other long span bridge types and designs. This example has no unusual or noteworthy features, and it is one of at least 75 identified similar bridges dating from the 1920s and 1930s. The bridge was built by the state highway department as a bridge replacement project. It is not historically distinguished by its setting, nor does it have a significant historic association with Mifflin's or Mifflintown's history of development.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2-lane highway and sidewalk over the Juniata River between the towns of Mifflin and Mifflintown. A potential Mifflin commerical historic district has been identified by PHMC (DOE 3/27/90), but no exact boundaries or period of significance are established by the available information in the file. The bridge would not be within the district's boundaries, which would extend no further east than the street fronting the river adjacent to the bridge's southwest quadrant and to the 19th-century residence at its northwest quadrant. The west end of the bridge in Mifflintown is adjacent to a parking lot at its southeastern quadrant and a brick vernacular residence (1833) at its northeastern quadrant. Mifflintown is the county seat. The courthouse and square are located two blocks east of the bridge. The area surrounding the courthouse is dominated by mid-19th to early 20th century brick commercial and civic buildings. It appears to have historic district potential. Further research would be needed to establish the potential Mifflintown district's significance and boundaries. It may include the residence at the bridge's northeast quadrant, but it would not extend to the bridge or parking lot to its southeast.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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Photos and Videos: Mifflintown Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

 
View Photo Gallery Structure Overview
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery Structure Details
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery Structure Overview
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Photo Gallery Structure Details
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Video
Crossing The Bridge
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Crossing The Bridge
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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