September 12, 2018
Northeast Philadelphia's Frankford Avenue Bridge, the oldest still in use in the United States, reopened to the public last week following several months of repairs, PennDOT officials said.
The stone arch bridge carries U.S. 13 over Pennypack Creek. The required repairs included several intensive projects, including rebuilding the north spandrel wall, excavating and replacing the arch backfill with lightweight concrete and repairing deteriorated concrete along the arch barrel.
“Reconstructing the oldest bridge in the country is no small task,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said in a statement. “This rehabilitation was truly a unique undertaking for the designers, engineers and contractors, as they were collectively tasked with extending the structure’s service life while at the same time preserving the structural integrity and historic value of the bridge.”
The Frankford Avenue Bridge was originally built in 1697 and reconstructed in 1893. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
The bridge measures 73 feet long, 50 feet wide and carries approximately 14,745 vehicles every day, including SEPTA's Route 66 trolley.
With the completion of the rehabilitation, the 20-ton weight restriction on the bridge has been lifted.
The Frankford Avenue bridge is the first of seven poor-rated bridges in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery counties that PennDOT is repairing under a $7,220,000 bridge improvement project. The other six bridges are listed below:
• Bryn Mawr Avenue over Doom Run in Radnor Township, Delaware County;
• Bryn Mawr Avenue over Meadowbrook Creek in Radnor Township, Delaware County;
• Bryn Mawr Avenue over a tributary to Meadowbrook Run in Radnor Township, Delaware County;
• Byberry Road over Southampton Creek in Upper Moreland Township and Bryn Athyn Borough, Montgomery County;
• Greenwood Avenue over a branch of Rock Creek in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County; and
• Eagleville Road over Eagleville Run in Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County.
The entire project is expected to be complete in late 2019.