Mont Clare Bridge

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Mont Clare Bridge
Mont Clare Bridge2.jpg
1997 Mont Clare Bridge at sunset
Coordinates 40°08′07.4″N 75°30′31.1″W / 40.135389°N 75.508639°W / 40.135389; -75.508639Coordinates: 40°08′07.4″N 75°30′31.1″W / 40.135389°N 75.508639°W / 40.135389; -75.508639[1]
Carries PA 29 (Bridge Street)
Crosses Schuylkill River
Locale Southeastern Pennsylvania, USA
Maintained by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
ID number 460029001000000
Design Stringer/Multi-beam or Girder
Total length 550 feet (170 m)[1]
Width 38 feet (12 m)[1]
Longest span 110 feet (34 m)[1]
Opened 1997
Daily traffic 18347 (in 1992)[2]
15544 (in 2000)[3][4]
16347 (in 2004)[3]
16692 (in 2009)[5]

The Mont Clare Bridge (also Phoenixville – Mont Clare Bridge) is a crossing of the Schuylkill River between Mont Clare and Phoenixville in Pennsylvania, USA. The bridge was also referred to as the Intercounty Bridge, as it connects Montgomery and Chester counties. The bridge abuts a shorter county bridge across the Schuylkill Canal and towpath on the Mont Clare side to complete the crossing. The bridges carry Bridge Street (PA 29), a bike lane and a sidewalk. The bridge will also become part of the Schuylkill River Trail routing.



In early America, the crossing was a ford known originally as Indian or Indiantown Ford.[6] Then successively as Gordon's, Starr's and Jacobs' Ford.[7] The crossing gained some notoriety as Gordon's Ford when it was used by American and British troops during the American Revolutionary War. In the fall of 1777, British troops under Lord Cornwallis forced a passage at Gordon's Ford and at Fatland Ford, further downstream. In response, Washington maneuvered the Continental Army further west to protect his supply line and the Congress, then in York. This left Philadelphia lightly defended, leading to the its capture. Gordon's Ford is mentioned in the writings of both Washington and Cornwallis.[8]

1844 bridge[edit]

In the winter of 1843–1844, local businessman Joseph Whitaker, while in the legislature, "obtained a charter for the incorporation of a company to erect a bridge over the Schuylkill at the site of th[e] ford".[9] That summer, a wooden covered bridge was constructed, it was one of the longest in regional history.[10] In early 1915, state highway engineers formally recommended to the County Commissioners that the bridge be replaced.[11] Then fate took a hand and the covered bridge burned down on May 9, 1915.[12] A temporary wooden replacement bridge was built on piles, just down stream from the previous, until the permanent replacement could be built.

1916 bridge[edit]

1916 Mont Clare Bridge, c. 1921
PRR bridge in background

In December 1915, the County Commissioners of Montgomery and Chester Counties requested sealed bids for a five span, concrete arch bridge.[13] In 1916 construction started on the new bridge, which was completed in April 1917.[14] The 1916 bridge was designed by B. H. Davis and constructed by Ambler-Davis Co.[15] Each of the five concrete arches spanned 103 feet (31 m), and the cost was US$103,250.[14]

1997 bridge[edit]

In 1996 a contract was let to replace the 1916 bridge. The new bridge was designed by HDR, Inc.'s Pittsburgh office and Czop/Specter,Inc. of Worcester, Montgomery County, PA office. Construction was done by Allan A. Myers Inc. of Worcester, Pennsylvania. Many design decisions were based on the requirement to keep the closure of State Route 29 to a minimum. The project was kept to a short time line by reusing the existing bridge foundations, using steel girders, and an incentive clause in the contract.[16] The new bridge opened in 1997.[17] The new bridge was the first in Pennsylvania to include "shock transmission units", an earthquake damage mitigation technology.[16]

Schuylkill River Trail[edit]

As Chester County constructs a new section of the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) north of Phoenixville, the Mont Clare Bridge will be used to connect it to the existing portion of trail that runs from Mont Clare to Philadelphia. In September, 2012, the counties and regional planners issued a Request for Proposal to study improving the pedestrian and bicycle "Connector" on the bridge as part of the SRT.[18] Initial plans for the Connector were presented at an open house on June 12, 2013, and were met with favorable opinions.[19]

See also[edit]

List of crossings of the Schuylkill River


  1. ^ a b c d Google Earth
  2. ^ "2000 NBI ASCII Files". Retrieved July 12, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "2007 NBI ASCII Files". Retrieved July 12, 2008. 
  4. ^ For canal bridge
  5. ^ "National Bridge Inventory Bridges". Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  6. ^ Pennypacker, Hon. Sameul W. (1911). ""Joseph Richardson's Road"". The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 35. Philadelphia: Historical Society of Pennsylvania. p. 41. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  7. ^ Pennypacker, Samuel Whitaker (1872). Annals of Phoenixville and Its Vicinity: From the Settlement to the Year 1871. Phoenixville, PA: Bavis & Pennypacker, printers. p. 174. 
  8. ^ "The Papers of George Washington". Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  9. ^ Pennypaker, p. 175
  10. ^ Martino, Vincent, Jr. (2002). Phoenixville. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 14–15. ISBN 0-7385-1112-9. 
  11. ^ Gillete, H.P., ed. (February 24, 1915). "Bridges – Prospective Work". Engineering and Contracting. Chicago: Myron C. Clark Publishing Company. XLIII (8): 29. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ Webster, Franklin, ed. (May 26, 1915). "What Is Burning". The Insurance Press. New York: The Insurance Press. 40 (1,029): 14. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Mont Clare Bridge Over Schuylkill River". The American City. XIII (6): 11. December 1915. 
  14. ^ a b "Short Span Highway Bridges". Public Works. Floral Park, New York: Municipal Journal & Engineer, Inc. 50 (16): 314. April 16, 1921. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Mont Clare Bridge". Retrieved March 15, 2008. 
  16. ^ a b "Merit Award: Short Span – S.R. 0028[sic] OVER THE SCHUYLKILL RIVER" (PDF). Modern Steel Construction. September 1998. Retrieved March 15, 2008. 
  17. ^ Historical marker on 1997 bridge.
  18. ^ "Request for Proposals For Schuylkill River Trail Phoenixville-Mont Clare Connector Feasibility Study and Alternatives Analysis". Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Schuylkill River Trail: Phoenixville-Mont Clare Connector Feasibility Study Open House". Retrieved November 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]