The Pymatuning State Park Trail Extension Project, including the preservation of the Messerall Truss Bridge, was named a project of the year by the Franklin chapter of the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE). The project was recognized in the category for projects with a construction budget of $3 million or less.
Work was done through a partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
The project included the refurbishment and relocation of the 146-year-old bridge from above Pine Creek in Oil Creek Township to over Linesville Creek near Linesville Borough in Crawford County, where it is part of the expanded Pymatuning State Park trail system that now runs from Fries Road past the Spillway Overlook to Hartstown Road and continues to South Chestnut Street. The trail work increased the length of the pathway from just over one mile long to more than three miles long, resulting in safe access to park visitor centers, schools, and a connection with the Route 6 and Bicycle PA Route Y.
The two state agencies also worked together to create a 12-minute video focused on the partnerships and processes needed to preserve an exceptionally historic bridge. The video can be viewed through the Pymatuning State Park Trail Project page on the www.penndot.pa.gov/District1.
The Messerall Truss Bridge was built in 1876 and was formerly owned by Crawford County. It was closed in 1987 due to safety issues from extensive deterioration. On August 10, 2021, it was removed, disassembled, and taken to a blacksmith shop to be repaired. In September 2022, it was reassembled on site, put into place along the trail, and fitted with a new wooden deck.
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