The Ohiopyle Low Bridge

Present Ohiopyle Low Bridge from the Rt 381 bridge, just upstream.

Probably the most heavily used bridge on the Great Allegheny Passage is the Ohiopyle Low Bridge.
It is also the most modern.

When the Western Maryland Railway was abandoned in 1975 the existing bridge over the Youghiogheny at Ohiopyle was truncated. The most southern segment of the span was removed to allow taller trucks to use Rt. 381 into the town.

For years the empty span remained. It served as a standard for a sign warning boaters of the waterfall just downstream.


The former Western Maryland Bridge at Ohiopyle from just downstream. (circa 1989)

Once biking the then named "Youghiogheny River Trail" in Ohiopyle became popular the realization was that the missing link needed to be replaced.

Several options were considered. An important part of the decision was to make sure truck traffic could continue. Using the existing span always ran into the lack of sufficient clearance so the decision was made to remove the old bridge and replace it with a completely new structure.

The new bridge was designed by engineers for the state of Pennsylvania using the existing piers but raising the bridge sections well above the height of the old railroad bridge. The light, arched steel frame has the feel of an old RR bridge without the massive look. The decking is timber. The award winning design fits well in the mountain surroundings and was a welcome closure of a link long missing.

Namaste,
paul


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