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Replica to Replace Historic Schlichers Covered Bridge

WGN 38-39-06

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Whitehall, PA, July 15, 2011 - The state Department of Transportation plans to replace Schlichers Covered Bridge in North Whitehall Township with a new structure built to bear more weight while replicating the historic structure's appearance.

For photo and the story, go to:,0,3424066.story.

James Smedley, editor of Pennsylvania Crossings, comments:

Sunday, July 17, 2011 - Pennsylvania's Dept of Transportation has big plans for Schlichers C.B. Tom Walczak, Lish Howard and Ray Finkelstein have all sent us this article about Schlicher's Bridge in Lehigh County.

I may add that I am concerned that the bridge will have 90% of its wood replaced, which will make it a #2 bridge. Many bridge enthusiasts have contacted me about bridge builders taking the "easy way out" by replacing all of the wood instead of making an attempt to preserve as much of the original bridge as possible. I would think that since the PA Historical & Museum Commission was involved with this project that they believe 90% of the original wood is not usable.

The article also does not specifically say the bridge will retain its authenticity when rebuilt. It does say "replica" but does that mean it will be rebuilt as an authentic truss bridge or just look like the old bridge? Again, I would think the PA Historical & Museum Commission would make sure it is rebuilt as an authentic truss bridge.

The article says that "steel beams will support the new bridge. They will be covered with a wood decking so the structure will look like the original." Unless the writer is confused or I am interpreting this incorrectly, it sounds like the truss system will be for looks only. Hopefully, it will still be an authentic covered bridge and the steel beams will only "add" support.

Member Ray Finkelstein attended the forum last Thursday and he emphasized that although the design looks good on the surface, we need to make every attempt possible to continue to maintain the historical structure of the bridge.

[Jim Crouse shared this article - Ed.]

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