Walnut Street Bridge (Harrisburg)

Walnut Street Bridge (Harrisburg)

bridge_name= Walnut Street Bridge

caption= The People's Bridge. The view facing City Island.
also_known_as= The People's Bridge
carries= Pedestrians
crosses= Susquehanna River
locale= Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
maint= PENNDOT
design= Wrought iron truss bridge
mainspan=240 feet
length=2801 feet
open= 1890

lat= 40.2575
long= -76.886

The Walnut Street Bridge also known as The People's Bridge, is a truss bridge that spans the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Built by the Phoenix Bridge Company in 1890, it is the oldest remaining bridge connecting Harrisburg's downtown and Riverfront Park with City Island. Since flooding in 1996 collapsed sections of the western span, it no longer connects to the West Shore.


The bridge was built to break the toll monopoly enjoyed by the neighboring Camelback Bridge (now the Market Street Bridge). The Walnut Street Bridge was closed to motor vehicles and converted to a pedestrian and bikeway link to City Island after the 1972 Hurricane Agnes flood. The eastern span of the bridge is outlined in lights which, along with the City Island facilities, create a dynamic visual effect at night. The 2,801 foot (854 m) span is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world. The conversion to pedestrian use gave the bridge a new purpose and it is used by over a million visitors, tourists and residents annually. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and is also recognized as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

1996 Collapse

In January 1996 the Walnut Street bridge lost two of its seven western spans when high floodwaters and a large ice floe lifted the spans off their foundations and swept them down the river. A third span was damaged and later collapsed into the river. Shortly after the loss of the three western spans, the Peoples Bridge Coalition was formed to support the restoration of the bridge. Public surveys show overwhelming support for the restoration of the western spans. It is estimated that restoring the western span of the bridge will cost between $12-15 million dollars (December 2005).

Shortly after the 1996 collapse, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation contracted Modjeski and Masters, Inc. to perform an inspection and analysis to prevent the possibility of future collapse of the remaining structure. A $5 million rehabilitation project was later conducted on the eastern span of the bridge. The rehabilitation project was performed by IA Construction Corporation of Concordville, PA. Now the eastern section of the bridge from Harrisburg to City Island is open to the public.


*cite book | author=Jackson, Donald C. | title=Great American Bridges and Dams | publisher=John Wiley & Sons, New York (USA) | year=1984 | id=ISBN 0-471-14385-5
*cite web|url=http://www.asce.org/history/brdg_walnutst.html|title=Walnut Street Bridge|work=ASCE History and Heritage of Civil Engineering|accessdate=2006-07-04

ee also

*List of crossings of the Susquehanna River

External links

* [http://www.walnutstreetbridge.org/ People's Bridge Coalition]

Crossings navbox
structure = Bridges
place = Susquehanna River
bridge = Walnut Street Bridge
bridge signs =
upstream = M. Harvey Taylor Memorial Bridge
upstream signs =
downstream = Market Street Bridge
downstream signs =

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