Manayunk Bridge

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Manayunk Bridge
Manayunk Bridge PA.jpg
Manayunk Bridge in 1999.
Coordinates 40°01′31″N 75°13′35″W / 40.02528°N 75.22639°W / 40.02528; -75.22639Coordinates: 40°01′31″N 75°13′35″W / 40.02528°N 75.22639°W / 40.02528; -75.22639
Carries Former SEPTA Ivy Ridge Line
Crosses Schuylkill River and Schuylkill Expressway
Locale Manayunk, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Other name(s) Manayunk Viaduct
Maintained by SEPTA
Design Open spandrel deck arch
Material Concrete
Longest span 150 feet (46 m)
Number of spans 15
Piers in water 3
Designer Pennsylvania Railroad
Constructed by T. L. Eyre (Philadelphia)
Construction end 1918
Closed 1986

The Manayunk Bridge (a.k.a. Manayunk Viaduct) is a historic bridge in Pennsylvania across the Schuylkill River and adjacent Schuylkill Canal between Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County and the Manayunk neighborhood of Philadelphia.


Built by the former Schuylkill Valley Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, it is a large concrete open spandrel arch bridge built on a reverse curve, earning both the current bridge and its 1883 wrought-iron-truss predecessor the nickname of "S-Bridge."[1] The bridge's challenging geometry was executed by T. L. Eyre, a Philadelphia contractor. Another notable feature is the saw-toothed construction joints along a 65-degree skew.[2]

In 1976, SEPTA purchased the bridge for its Ivy Ridge Line (now Cynwyd Line. Ten years later, after weather-related expansion and contraction of the bridge, and the shedding of pieces of concrete due to spalling, SEPTA closed the bridge on October 25, 1986, truncating service at Cynwyd and suspended service to three of the line's six stations (Ivy Ridge, Manayunk, and Walnut Hill). Between 1996 and 1999, the bridge was stabilized and refurbished.[3] The effort determined that the internal steel reinforcement was not compromised, as SEPTA had feared.[1] Further investigation by Urban Engineers determined that the bridge was safe and only needed surface work to stop the spalling.[1]

Nevertheless, SEPTA did not restart train service to Ivy Ridge.[1][4] Instead, the agency repeatedly tried terminate the remaining Cynwyd service due to its lower ridership. A small but active community-based ridership protest in 1997 convinced SEPTA not only to retain service to Cynwyd but to also expand service.[4] Still, SEPTA managed to declined to reopen Manayunk Bridge and restore service to Ivy Ridge due to its operating expense.

A SEPTA R6 Ivy Ridge train transverses the Manayunk Bridge on November 17, 1985.

Manayunk Bridge Rail Trail[edit]

Between 2008 and June 2010, SEPTA removed all 2.5 miles (4.0 km) of tracks north of Cynwyd for the Cynwyd Heritage Rail Trail[5] and Ivy Ridge Rail Trail.[6] The Manayunk Bridge is also slated to be converted into a rail trail connecting the two aforementioned rail trails.[7]

Further reading[edit]

  • Garforth, Harry, Jr. (1999). Rails Through Manayunk. Telford, PA: Silver Brook Junction Publishing Company. 
  • Bezilla, Michael (1980). Electric Traction on the Pennsylvania Railroad, 1895-1968. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0271002417. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Spivey, Justin M. (April 2000). "Pennsylvania Railroad, Manayunk Bridge". Historic American Engineering Record. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  2. ^ Wolf, Albert M. (February 9, 1918). "New Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge at Manayunk, Pa.". Railway Review 62 (6): 194–199. 
  3. ^ Veksler, Rafail; Thorat, Abhay P. (September 1999). "The Arch Bridge Mystery". Civil Engineering 69 (9): 48–51. 
  4. ^ a b Williams, Gerry (1999). Trains, Trolleys & Transit: A Guide to Philadelphia Area Rail Transit. Railpace Newsmagazine. p. 84. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Ivy Ridge Green
  7. ^ Moselle, Aaron (January 8, 2011). "City secures $1.3 million for Manayunk Bridge trail". Retrieved 2011-09-08. 

External links[edit]