C.S. Davidson helped reopen historic bridge connecting York and Cumberland Counties

May 2022

The Slate Hill Road bridge in Fairview Township, PA, built between 1859 and 1860 for horse and carriage traffic, reopened to all modern-day traffic in May 2022 after being closed for emergency rehabilitation work.

C.S. Davidson began design work for the restoration in 2018. As York County’s bridge engineer, company workers observed continued infrastructure deterioration during annual bridge inspections.

At a price tag of roughly $2.4 million, the newly rehabbed bridge is expected to last at least 50 years, with only routine maintenance needed.

Recognizing the historical value of the antebellum bridge and its eligibility for the National Historic Register, the company took specific steps to preserve the structure’s historical nature.

In addition, the design team needed to determine the current and proposed use of the structure – whether it needed to carry tractor-trailer trucks, emergency response vehicles, or pickup trucks. This collaborative effort was resolved by meeting with the counties, municipalities, emergency services, and the Suez water company. The group determined the bridge should be improved to accommodate five-ton vehicles.

The bridge had many structural issues. The arches, which provide strength, had settled and twisted due to water penetration, causing cracking and stones dropping toward the stream. This was aggravated by the fact that every day approximately 1,650 vehicles used the bridge, which was originally constructed for horse and carriage transportation.

Bridging the gap

As usual with these projects, there was more to it than just the bridge. Since the infrastructure spans Yellow Breeches Creek, work could not occur between March 1 and June 15 to protect the spawning trout. In addition, wetlands were identified on the project site, so measures were put in place to protect this resource. Plus, it is a boating stream, so the company created a ford detour for kayakers and tubers.

With the historical and environmental aspects of the structure, the company was required to coordinate with the PA Department of Environmental Protection to minimize habitat impacts and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to ensure they were not compromising historical features.

Although the project was complex, C.S. Davidson’s creators have the engineering expertise and project management skills to complete these types of rehab projects. 

Contact us today to learn more about our bridge engineering services.