A study of a bridge that is one of the oldest in the area conducted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has determined that it is eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
In a letter addressed to officials with PennDOT Engineering District 5-0 and dated June 25, PHMC Division of Environmental Review Chief Douglas McLearen wrote: “We concur with the finding of the federal agency that the Meadows Road Bridge (Key No. 088900) is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C for Engineering. While the bridge has been altered due to insensitive use of concrete material, the changes have not compromised its significance as a rare four span stone arch bridge. The period of significance is c. 1858, date of construction, and the boundary is the footprint of the bridge including existing historic features.”
The Northampton County-owned bridge is a stone-arch structure that was built just before the Civil War.
It spans the Saucon Creek in Lower Saucon Township, near Rt. 412, just south of Hellertown.
County officials have said they plan to either rehabilitate and reopen the existing bridge or build a new one to replace it, however neither a timeline for taking action on the project nor plans for funding it have been announced.
Lower Saucon Township Council last year affirmed that the township wants the bridge to be rehabilitated because of its historic significance as one of the last remaining stone arch bridges in the county.
Placing the bridge on the National Register of Historic Places would likely strengthen the argument by preservationists that it should be saved as a functional reminder of the past.
The letter from McLearen notes that, “if National Register listing for this property is sought in the future, additional documentation of the property’s significance and integrity may be required to both verify this determination of eligibility and satisfy the requirements of the National Park Service. Thus, the outcome of the National Register listing process cannot be assured by this determination of eligibility.”