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Erwinna Covered Bridge Closed After Damage

The historic bridge on Geigel Hill Road in Tinicum Township was closed indefinitely Tuesday due to severe structural damage caused by an oversized truck.

 

The historic Erwinna Covered Bridge on Geigel Hill Road in Tinicum Township was severely damaged when a truck hit it, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

PennDOT closed the bridge Tuesday morning after the crash, which a spokesman said destroyed parts of the covered structure. The bridge will be closed indefinitely, the department said.

The bridge "suffered significant damage when an overly high box truck struck the bridge and continued to drive straight through it - taking out the supporting beams of the bridge and making the bridge impassable," State Rep. Marguerite Quinn said in a constituent newsletter emailed Tuesday.

According to PennDOT District Executive Lester C. Toaso, bridge engineers are examining the extent of the structural damage and will develop a plan to repair and restore the wooden cover.

Drivers will follow a posted detour of Route 32, Route 611, Marienstein Road/Bridgeton Hill Road and Chestnut Ridge Road/Upper Tinicum Church Road during the bridge closure. The bridge carried an average of 405 vehicles a day.

The Erwinna Covered Bridge over Swamp Creek is on the National Register of Historic Places. Believed to have been built in 1871, the bridge is 43 feet long and 19 feet 6 inches wide.

The bridge is restricted to vehicles with a height of 11 feet or less, but that hasn't stopped larger trucks from trying to barrel through it.

Like many of the other bridges in Central and Upper Bucks - including the Pine Run bridge on the border of New Britain Borough and Doylestown Township - the Erwinna bridge has been damaged over the years by large vehiclies.

The covered bridges of Bucks County also have been plagued by graffiti and arson.

Doylestown native David Hanauer maintains an informative page dedicated to the county's covered bridges, which can be seen here. Another page dedicated to Bucks County's covered bridges is part of a larger statewide bridge website.

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