Feb 10, 2017

A Tale Of Two Bridges

In the mid 50's, it was a big deal to us southsiders when they opened the new 15th Street Bridge. Prior to that, we had to either go over the 8th Street Bridge, or use the old stone arch bridge by the fertilizer plant. The fertilizer plant is long gone, but the old stone bridge is still there. Schreibers Bridge was built in 1828, and rehabilitated in 1920. The new 15th Street bridge was built in 1957, and is now restricted to south bound only, until which time it can be completely replaced. So the new bridge lasted 54 years, while the old stone bridge is still in use, 182 years later.

Recently, I urged Donny Cunningham not to replace the stone arch bridge on Reading Road. His project manager, Glenn Solt, insists that the historic bridge must be replaced. He stated that stone arch bridges look nice on the outside, but inside, they're filled with "crap." Thankfully, Don and Glenn didn't target Schreibers Bridge, because we're really going to need it with the new 15th Street Bridge out of commission. Hopefully, they will reconsider about stealing our history on Reading Road.

reprinted from November 2010 and February of 2012

ADDENDUM: I did manage to save the Reading Road Bridge. I now encourage Allentown to restore the approach walls to Schreibers Bridge, damaged as it served heavy duty while the new 15th Street Bridge was being replaced.

1 comment:

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

Like many of the Roman structures from centuries ago, these old bridges, barns etc, were built by people without any formal engineering degree, a limited selection of materials, mostly the natural material found in the area, and they seem to outlast most of the modern structures. If their use had been limited to the type of traffic they were built for they would all last for centuries. It is important to preserve these historical works of engineering and art.