Meadows Road Bridge Added to National Register of Historic Places

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Meadows Road Bridge

The historic Meadows Road Bridge in Lower Saucon Township has been closed to traffic since April 2018, when engineers determined it could not safely remain open. The one-lane bridge spans the Saucon Creek just west of Rt. 412 south of Hellertown. Although preservationists want it restored, the bridge’s fate ultimately rests in the hands of Northampton County officials, who haven’t yet decided whether to repair or replace it. (FILE PHOTO)

In a win for local preservationists, it was announced Aug. 31 that the historic Meadows Road Bridge in Lower Saucon Township has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The 1858 stone arch bridge across the Saucon Creek has been closed for more than two years due to issues with its structural integrity, resulting in a long-term detour for some residents who live near it.

Opinion about whether the bridge should be rehabilitated and preserved or replaced with a modern span has been divided among local residents. Meanwhile, officials from Northampton County–which owns the structure also known as County Bridge 15–have yet to commit to a plan that would restore access at that point along the Saucon Creek.

As a one-lane “humpback” bridge, the current structure doesn’t meet modern engineering or safety standards.

Repairs made to the bridge by the county over the years have also been criticized as undermining its historic integrity. For example, instead of using a historically accurate type of mortar repairs were made to the bridge’s stonework using Portland cement.

The bridge is located along an especially flood-prone stretch of the creek; a fact evidenced by the flooding that occurred around it in early August, when Hurricane Isaias dumped nearly eight inches of rain on the Saucon Valley in a matter of just a few hours.

In spite of these challenges, Lower Saucon Township officials have gone on the record as advocates for the Meadows Road Bridge’s preservation.

The bridge joins a nearby property–the privately-owned Wagner Farmstead on Meadows Road–in being a 2020 addition to the National Register from Lower Saucon Township.

Click here to view a copy of the final nomination draft that secured the bridge its place on the prestigious list.

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