Aug 6, 2008
8th Street Bridge
When opened for traffic on November 17, 1913, with seventeen spans, the Albertus L. Meyers Bridge, then known as the Eighth Street Bridge, was the longest and highest reinforced concrete arch bridge in the world.
The Lehigh Valley Transit Company organized the Allentown Bridge Company in 1911 for the sole purpose of building the bridge. The bridge was designed by the engineering firm of B.H. Davis and built by McArthur Brothers of New York City. Costing in excess of $500,000, construction of the bridge required 29,500 cubic yards (22,600 m³) of concrete and 1.1 million pounds of metal reinforcing rods.
The structure operated as a toll bridge from its November 17, 1913 opening until the 1950s, at which time the toll was five cents for an automobile. The concrete standards that once supported the trolley wire are still standing on the bridge to this day.*
This iconic bridge is a monument to our industrial history; epicenter of both the coment and steel industries. Unfortunately, under the current Pawlowski Administration, which has no knowledge of local history, and no experienced technical personnel, the bridge is suffering. Weeds and undergrowth are being allowed to penetrate the roadbed. Spalling concrete is not being replaced, submitting the reinforcing rods to rust.
UPDATE: Harry C. Trexler, founding member of the Transit Company and Lehigh Portland Cement Co., was a principle player in the construction of this bridge. General Trexler's gravesite, in Fairview Cemetery on Lehigh Street, affords unique views of the bridge and center city Allentown.
Painting of Bridge: by John E. Berninger, 1933, a contemporary of Walter Baum.