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Covered bridge is a Carbon Co. gem

Published June 10. 2011 05:00PM

The covered bridge in Lower Towamensing Township is a gem that adds to the rich history of Carbon County. There are few covered bridges remaining in Pennsylvania and only one in Carbon.

Below are some facts about the bridge.

Built in the 1860s, the covered bridge, which spans 70 feet and crosses Buckwha Creek, is a burr arch construction. This type of construction is unique in that it uses a blend of wood and steel to develop its load carrying capacity.

Builders used hand forged steel rods was used in conjunction with hand hewed wood to carry tension and stabilize the arch.

Former Congressman Paul Kanjorski describes of the bridge construction in the fiscal year 2011 federal funding request for Carbon County's covered bridge restoration project, as a unique combination of artchitectural design.

"It is an interesting example of early bridge architecture and combines the famous arch-supported Burr Truss with elements of the Howe Truss, incorporating for the first time metal elements in the form of the rods in the bridge construction."

The bridge was included on the National Historic register in 1980 and had a weight limit of 15 tons.

Until 2008, it carried vehicles from cars to buses and large trucks over the creek, but years of road salt and moisture caused significant deterioration to the decking and steel structure, causing it to become unsafe for larger vehicles.

The bridge's weight limit was lowered permanently to five tons, or the size of a small pickup truck.

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