WEST CHESTER (May 29) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that PennDOT plans to begin work this summer to rehabilitate three covered bridges in Chester County to their historic standard.

PennDOT recently awarded a $3.2 million contract to Eastern Highway Specialists. Inc. of Wilmington, Delaware to rehabilitate the following bridges:

  • The Rapps Dam Covered Bridge in East Pikeland.
  • The Speakman Covered Bridge in West Marlborough.
  • The Knox Covered Bridge located in Valley Forge National Historic Park in Tredyffrin Township.

“Pennsylvania is home to the most covered bridges in the nation and here in Chester County we pennsylvania-85232_1280continue to work to preserve and maintain our historic covered bridges,” Dinniman said. “I am especially pleased to see Speakman’s Covered Bridge being restored as I have been working with community partners to preserve its historic status since 2012.”

Work on the Rapps Dam Covered Bridge will begin in June. The contractor will then proceed to work on the Speakman Covered Bridge and the Knox Covered Bridge. The entire project is expected to be completed in September of next year.

The Rapps Dam Covered Bridge has been closed since last spring when it sustained severe structural damage after being struck by an oversized truck. The project calls for repairing the Burr Arch truss; installing new ceiling joists and knee braces; and replacing the wooden cross members of the roof.

The Speakman Covered Bridge projects involves the replacement of the substructure; the reconstruction of the support abutments and wing walls; and the reassembly and replacement of necessary timber members. The project will reuse as much of the existing structure as possible.

Improvements to the Knox Covered Bridge include the rehabilitation of the superstructure; and the reconstruction of four wing walls and stone masonry parapets.

The Rapps Dam Bridge and the Speakman Covered Bridge are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Knox Covered Bridge is eligible for such a listing.

“I want to thank PennDOT for its commitment to preserving these local landmarks,” Dinniman said. “And I look forward to working with the department to ensure that these projects are completed safely, efficiently and with minimal impact on motorists.”

With 210 covered bridges Pennsylvania is home to more than one-fourth of all those standing in the United States today. Chester County, which once had 85 covered bridges according to historic records, remains home to 15 covered bridges.

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