Foxburg Bridge (1921)
|Official name||Foxburg Bridge|
|Other name(s)||Old Foxburg Bridge|
|Carries||Motor vehicles, pedestrians, PA 58, trains (1921-1964)|
|Width||single carriageway (road), single line (rail), stacked.|
|Number of spans||3|
|Piers in water||2|
|Opened||October 16, 1921|
|Toll||October 16, 1921 - April 1, 1926|
|Closed||July 3, 2008|
Constructed in 1921, the bridge carried motor vehicles and pedestrians over the Allegheny River between Armstrong County on the western side, and Foxburg in Clarion County on the eastern side until its permanent closure on July 3, 2008. The bridge was imploded on July 24, 2008. The bridge was the third in a series of four bridges that have crossed the Allegheny at this point.
The first was a bowstring arch truss completed in summer 1873 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio. This span was 530 feet (160 m) in length, with each span being 265 feet (81 m), and had one pier in the Allegheny River.
When railroad developments in the next decade necessitated a change this bridge was replaced by one made of wood. Work began on this in September 1882 and it was completed in April 1883. This new bridge was a two-level bridge, where rail traffic would pass over its top and regular wagon and passenger traffic below. It was of the Howe truss type. It reused the abutments and tollhouse of its predecessor, but replaced the central pier with two river piers. The bridge served the Pittsburgh and Western Railroad, which later became part of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
The 1921 bridge
The steel bridge was built by the Bethlehem Steel Bridge Corporation in 1921. The bridge was constructed in three parts adjacent to the old bridge. Shortly after the first section was put into place, the Oil City Derrick on August 23, 1921, described the work:
- "MODERN ENGINEERING ACCOMPLISHED WONDER
- Foxburg, Pa. Aug 22. The substitution of a new steel span, 180 feet long and weighing 400 tons, for a section of the old double decked wooden railroad bridge over the Allegheny at this point, the work of making the change occupying an actual period of only 10 minutes, was an engineering fete witnessed early today by practically all the inhabitants of this place.
- Placing of the new span was the first step in the reconstruction of the old bridge which is one of the last wooden railroad bridges left in the country. Two more spans of the same weight and dimensions as the first will be put in place, one on September 18 and the other October 16.
- The method employed by the engineers in making the substitution was apparently simple. The new steel structure was built alongside of the old wooden span, false work erected on the upstream side. Similar false work was built out on the down stream side. Both old and the new structures were set on several hundred small rollers and when all was ready cables which had been rigged from two railroad cranes were attached to the steel span and the signal to pull was given.
- As the new span rolled from its position it pushed the old structure from its place on the stone piers to a resting place on the false work on the down stream side. Both spans made the journey in less than 10 minutes and an hour later the bridge was ready for regular train service. The work was under the direction of P. J. Lang, bridge engineer for the Baltimore & Ohio railroad and A. C. Clark, district engineer of the same road."
The third and final section was put into place on October 16, 1921.
Between 1921 and 1964, the bridge carried trains from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Northern Subdivision over the river. The Pennsylvania Railroad also had a branch that ran through Foxburg, but it too has been removed, and is now in the process of becoming a rail trail.
The replacement bridge currently carries traffic over the Allegheny.
- Sider, Jason: "Blowing Up the Foxburg Bridge", page 17. Railpace Newsmagazine, September, 2008
- "Bridge blasters Cody and Scott Gustafson carry out a perfect demolition of the old Foxburg bridge that spans the Allegheny River". April 8, 2009. Retrieved December 25, 2009.