The Mead Avenue Bridge’s history goes back almost 200 years, according to meadvillebridge.com, the official website for the project.
Originally, a wooden bridge was built at the site in 1828. It was replaced with a steel truss Whipple Bridge in 1871 by the Penn Bridge Works of New Brighton. In 1907, the bridge was condemned as unsafe to carry trolley cars. In 1912, the original Whipple trusses were reinforced by grafting Baltimore trusses to the outside of the bridge to improve load-carrying capacity. Due to its age and unique engineering significance/construction, the bridge was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The Mead Avenue Bridge, although posted with a 4-ton weight limit, was carrying approximately 4,500 cars per day over French Creek when it closed due to structural and safety issues, on March 23, 2007. It remains closed.
A display of the Mead Avenue Bridge, including possible portions of the current bridge, are to be put on display at a kiosk near the site of the new bridge, according to Crawford County and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.