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Niemeyer Road Bridge Rehabilitation Project

Waterford Covered Bridge

Project Overview

This project is to repair and rehabilitate the 148-year-old bridge that carries Niemeyer Road over LeBoeuf Creek in Waterford Township, Erie County.

The project is expected start on October 30, 2023 with the dismantling of the top portion, or superstructure, of the bridge. Work this year is expected to conclude by November 17.

The remainder of the repairs will be done start in April 2024 with the project expected to be completed in early October 2024.

Work will include rehabilitating the existing bridge with new abutments, I-beams and decking to upgrade structure. There will also be new roadway approaches and updated guiderail and pavement markings. The bridge will also be repainted to restore the barn red color for which it is known.

Once work is complete, the bridge will have a 15-ton weight limit.

The Niemeyer Road bridge is owned by Waterford Township. It is rated poor condition.

The contractor is Chivers Construction Company of Fairview. The contract cost is $3,473,690, which will be paid for with a combination of state and federal funds.

This project is funded in part by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

Traffic Impacts

The bridge is located on Niemeyer Road between the intersection with the East Street and the intersection with Union/Hood Road. It was closed to traffic in May 2011, due to safety concerns.

During the construction, a detour will be posted using Depot Road (Route 2006) to Donation Road (Route 1005).

History of the Bridge

Historic picture of the Waterford covered bridge.

Historic photo courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS PA,25-WAFO,4-

The 85-foot single-lane covered bridge was built in 1875 by brothers Charles and James Phelps as a Town lattice wooden truss bridge. 

The trusses are comprised of crisscrossed diagonals, leading to the name lattice truss. It is one of only 19 such bridges left in Pennsylvania, and likely the only one in the northwest region. Pennsylvania is home to more than 200 covered bridges, most of which in the southeast portion of the state. 

The bridge, which is known as Brotherton's Bridge and the Old Kissing Bridge, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.