Two historic Truss Bridges still exist in Salem County

Salem County has many creeks and rivers running through it, which means Salem County has a lot of bridges. Two of the most historic bridges are New Bridge in LAC and Oldmans Creek (Nortonville) in Oldmans Township. These are the only two remaining “Truss” bridges still in existence in Salem County.

New Bridge

New Bridge, located in Lower Alloways Creek (CR623) is a fantastic example of a rural early 20th Century hand-turned center-bearing swing bridge. The bridge was built by an in-state bridge builder in 1905 by New Jersey Bridge Company, Manasquan. According to a document titled Historic American Engineering Survey (HAER-88) is owned by Salem County.

The bridge was used by local traffic and was a key part of New Jersey’s transportation heritage. The overall shape of the swing truss is one of the least common designs. This bridge once had considerable ornamentation, including portal cresting, builder plaque, and four decorative finials. At the time of documentation, only a couple finials remained. The pony truss approach span was rendered decorative by the addition of stringers under the deck, but the truss itself is unaltered. Otherwise however, the truss bridge itself retained good historic integrity. Although the bridge has not opened for boats since the 1960s, a lot of the mechanical elements under the bridge still remain. New Bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic since 1991.

William Miller, Asst. County Superintendent of Bridges stated, “There are no future plans on replacing or removing the bridge. It’s mostly a problem of funding and environmental issues.”

Staff photos by Zachary Ahl

Oldmans Creek (Nortonville) Bridge

The vertical lift bridge across Oldmans Creek is a well-preserved, albeit no longer operable, example of a historically and technologically significant bridge type. The vertical lift type represented important advances in structural steel construction, and was an alternative to bascule and swing span type movable bridges. The Oldmans Creek Bridge was built in 1936 as part of the reconstruction of NJ Highway Route 44. The firm of Ash, Howard, Needles, and Tammen of New York and Kansas City acted as consulting engineers on the New Deal public works project. The bridge was sealed to navigation in the late 1960s when South Jersey’s declining maritime economy no longer made a movable span on Oldmans Creek necessary. The Nortonville Bridge, although no longer operable to open for boats, is still used for today’s traffic, running from Oldmans Twp. to Gloucester Co.

Staff photos by Zachary Ahl

 

Sources:

http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/works/environment/pdf/Historic_BR_Salem.pdf

http://www.historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=Newjersey

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