South Washington Street Bridge

The South Washington Street Bridge carries South Washington Street (pedestrians and cyclists only) over the Susquehanna River in Binghamton, New York. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.


History

The wrought iron, pin-connected lenticular through truss was constructed from the autumn of 1886 to 1887 by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company of East Berlin, Connecticut. 1 The crossing cost $38,000 and was the longest multiple-span lenticular truss bridge constructed in the state during the 19th century. It incorporated the “parabolic” truss design patented by engineer William O. Douglas of Binghamton.

The Berlin Iron Bridge Company built hundreds of prefabricated iron vehicular bridges based upon the patented lenticular or “parabolic” truss design between 1880 and 1900. 1 Douglas, who patented the design in 1878 and 1885, was partially disabled by wounds received during the Civil War. Douglas assigned his patents to the Berlin Iron Bridge Company and worked as an agent and designer for the firm from his residence.

The Washington Street Bridge served as a principal thoroughfare for the city, carrying horse-drawn carriages (and later automobiles) and an electric streetcar across the Susquehanna River. 1

Prior to the completion of the cast and wrought iron truss bridge, a covered bridge existed at the site. 1 Douglas secured the contract for its replacement for the Berlin Iron Bridge Company.

The bridge received a new wood deck in 1934, which was replaced in 1959 with a steel grid deck. 1 The effects of highway salt led to serious deterioration of the deck support system that the Washington Street Bridge was closed to automobiles in 1969.

The pedestrian and cyclist-only bridge was rehabilitated in 1997 with new floor beams. 2 The superstructure was also repainted.

A $2.1 million rehabilitation project began in May 2016 which included painting the superstructure, sealing the concrete deck, repairing railings and joints, and replacing the wood sidewalk deck. 2 The project was supposed to begin in May 2015 but the city expanded the scope of the project to include more substantive structural rehabilitation, increasing the cost from by $300,000. Federal and state funding supplied 80% of the cost, with the city covering the remainder.

It was discovered during the renovation project that a flood in 2011 caused more structural damage than expected. 3 The state stepped up with $500,000 to fund the additional repairs. The project was completed in September 9.

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