|Bridge Name||Facility Carried / Feature Intersected||Location||Structure Type||Construction Date and Builder/Engineer|
East Brady Bridge
||PA-68 Over Allegheny River||East Brady: Armstrong County, Pennsylvania and Clarion County, Pennsylvania||Metal 8 Panel Rivet-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed||1934 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown|
|Rehabilitation Date||Main Span Length||Structure Length||Roadway Width||Main Spans||NBI Number|
|1973||200 Feet (60.96 Meters)||771 Feet (235 Meters)||20 Feet (6.1 Meters)||4||16006800100000|
This bridge was a four span Pratt through truss with riveted connections. Each span contained eight panels. This bridge may not have been the most historically significant or unaltered bridge around, but surely it had a history, and an interesting one at that. This bridge did not deserve to be demolished; it should instead have been restored. The bridge was originally built in 1885 as a four span pin-connected Whipple through truss. A historical photo is shown at the end of this narrative. In 1934, the Whipple truss superstructure was replaced with riveted Pratt through truss spans, while reusing the original stone piers. In 1953, this bridge was rehabilitated. In 1973, half of the bridge was rebuilt with new Pratt truss spans when ice tore apart two of the spans. The 1973 spans were in a general sense the same design, with the same number of panels and the same truss configuration. However, driving across the bridge, it was easy to note the rolled i-beam construction and lack of riveted built-up beams on the newer 1973 spans which were built according to typical practice and using typical materials of the period which by that time no longer included rivets or built-up beams. In 2007, PennDOT brought an end to this colorful history by blowing the bridge up and dragging the shattered remains out of the Allegheny River to be hauled away likely to be turned into cheap Chinese steel.
People had complained that the bridge was narrow with trucks on it. This did not mean the bridge had to be demolished. PennDOT should have built a one-lane bridge next to the truss bridge, forming a one-way couplet. Another option would be to leave the bridge standing for pedestrian use. The historic bridge was not in the way of its replacement when it was demolished. In other words, it was demolished just for the sake of erasing beauty and history from the Allegheny River. A bridge that can hold trucks today certainly can carry pedestrians, even un-repaired, for a number of decades to come. Demolishing this bridge was not just an insult to our history, it was a waste of taxpayer money. Money that could have been put toward restoring the bridge.
Despite alteration, this bridge was still much more attractive than its modern replacement is. Gone is the interesting "tunnel effect" one had while driving over the bridge, now that the demolition is completed. The bridge looked nice from a distance as well, where the newer spans looked essentially identical to the historic spans. Instead of demolition, a fresh coat of paint and continued use as a pedestrian crossing next to its replacement would really have helped this bridge and the East Brady community a lot.
On a greater scale, the East Brady Bridge was not the most historic truss bridge out there due to its alterations. However, from a local perspective, this bridge acted as a gateway for East Brady, and one of the main attractions in East Brady. It was a very important bridge for East Brady and the counties it bordered. Thus, its preservation should have been undertaken.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The skewed, 771'-long, 4 span (1 @ 161', 1 @ 198', 1 @ 199', and 1 @ 197'), riveted Pratt thru truss bridge is supported on an ashlar substructure raised with concrete extensions. The trusses are traditionally composed with rolled section used for the verticals and diagonals. Original bolted connections at the gusset plates have been replaced with high-strength bolts, a modification dating from 1973. The bridge is an example of a state highway department standard design riveted metal truss bridge that was used with great frequency beginning in the mid 1920s. It has no innovative or distinctive details. Approximately 150 riveted truss bridges built between 1925 and 1957 remain statewide. Neither it nor its setting is historically or technologically significant.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries a 2 lane state highway and a sidewalk over the Allegheny River. The area does not have historic district potential. To the southwest is Bradys Bend, a steep wooded ridge with modular homes in the flood plain. To the northeast is the borough of East Brady. PHMC designated a potential historic there in 1996, but excluded the bridge and the predominantly modern buildings found at the quadrants.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No
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