The first crossing of the Susquehanna River in the vicinity of Harmer’s Town (later becoming Havre de Grace in 1782) was a ferry that was established in 1665. It proved to be a key transportation link for George Washington’s troops during the Revolutionary War and for Union troops during the Civil War. The first bridge for horse-and-buggies and automobiles opened in 1910 from a converted c. 1873 railroad crossing. It was operated by a group of private citizens as a tolled facility until the State Roads Commission acquired the bridge in 1923.
The bridge was narrow with a roadway only 13 feet wide which caused numerous side-swiping accidents and very low traffic speeds. To alleviate the problem, the Commission constructed a second deck over the old bridge in 1926-27, converting each level into dedicated eastbound or westbound lanes. But after the crossing reopened to traffic on November 29, 1927, the “Double Decker Bridge” caused new issues: the lower deck had a vertical clearance of 12½-feet, barely sufficient to accommodate commercial vehicles.
Ultimately, the “Double Decker Bridge” was replaced with a graceful through arch bridge that carries US Route 40 over the Susquehanna River between Havre de Grace and Perryville, Maryland.