Kinzua Viaduct - Kinzua Bridge State Park, Pennsylvania [Legacy]
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Szuchie
N 41° 45.596 W 078° 35.293
17T E 700493 N 4625933
Quick Description: Welcome to Kinzua Viaduct, a historical testament to the engineering feats of the 1900's.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 2/10/2008 11:15:17 AM
Waymark Code: WM34WE
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member deano1943
Views: 29

Long Description:
According to the Pennsylvania State Parks website:

When built in 1882, Kinzua Viaduct was the highest railroad bridge in the world. It was constructed as an alternative to laying an additional eight miles of track over rough terrain along the line leading to McKean County’s coal, timber and oil lands.

Built of iron, the original viaduct was 301 feet high, 2,053 feet long, and weighed 3,105,000 pounds.

By 1900, it became necessary to rebuild the entire structure with steel to accommodate heavier trains. That May, about 100 to 150 men working ten-hour days completed the job in 105 days. The new steel viaduct had the same measurements, but now weighed 6,715,000 pounds.

Freight traffic discontinued in June of 1959. In 1963, Governor William Scranton signed a law that created Kinzua Bridge State Park. The park officially opened in 1970. In 1977, Kinzua Viaduct received national recognition when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.

Beginning in 1987, excursion trains traveled from Kane, PA through Allegheny National Forest, stopping on Kinzua Viaduct before returning to its point of origin.

Although the bridge received periodic inspections, it was not until a February 2002 DCNR inspection that engineers decided that the structure needed a full-scale inspection. In June, DCNR barred excursion trains from the bridge.

As the inspection continued, engineers found that sections of steel were rusted through. In August, the bridge was closed to all traffic, including pedestrians.

Engineers determined that high winds could create lateral pressure on the bridge. The wind hitting the bridge could shift the center of gravity, increasing the weight on one side. Such an event could send the whole bridge crashing to the bottom of Kinuza Gorge.

Beginning in February, 2003, W. M. Brode Co. of Newcomerstown, Ohio, a national leader in railroad bridge construction and repair, began working to restore Kinzua Viaduct.

On Monday, July 21, 2003, at approximately 3:15 p.m., an F1 tornado (wind speed 73 – 112 mph) struck the side of Kinzua Viaduct. Eleven towers from the center of the bridge were torn from their concrete bases and thrown to the valley floor. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.

Repairs continue in an effort to stabilize the remaining nine towers. DCNR is now in conducting feasibility studies to determine what to do with Kinzua Bridge.

*Please note the coordinates above will take visitors to the end of the bridge. This is permitted by the park, but please DO NOT cross the fence and/or play on the bridge. Thank you and enjoy!

This NRHP location is now legacy as it was delisted in 2004 per Secondary Website 2 link below:
PENNSYLVANIA, MCKEAN COUNTY, Kinzua Viaduct, 4.2 mi. NE of Mt. Jewett, Mount Jewett, 77001511, REMOVED, 7/21/04

Street address:
Kinzua Bridge State Park
Mt. Jewett, PA USA

County / Borough / Parish: McKean

Year listed: 2004

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1875-1899, 1900-1924

Historic function: Transportation

Current function: Not In Use

Privately owned?: no

Hours of operation: From: 8:00 AM To: 7:00 PM

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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