MHT File Photo
Waverly Street Bridge
Waverly Street, Westernport, Allegany County
The Waverly Street Bridge (also called the Westernport Bowstring Arch Truss Bridge) carries vehicular traffic on Waverly Street over George's Creek. It is a single span, bowstring arch through truss steel bridge with a span length of 108'. The truss is pin connected, and the arched top chord of the truss terminates at the bridge's bearing joints on the abutments. The bottom chord consists of paired eye bars from joint to joint. Each panel is laterally braced with cylindrical tie rods. The bridge reaches a maximum height of 15.7', and is 15.6' wide and consists of eight panels measuring 13'-6" wide. The 14 vertical posts, of different height, consist of two angles tied together with lattice work. Similar latticework is used for the three horizontal braces. A series of three pipes running the length of either side of the bridge serve as guardrails. The bridge is supported by stone abutments and has a timber deck and timber stringers. Built in 1892, the bridge retains its original appearance and is in good condition.
The Waverly Street Bridge is significant as one of only a few extant bowstring bridges in Maryland, and only one of two in use at its original location. The bridge was built in 1892 by the King Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio, one of the most prolific and innovative 19th century bridge manufacturing companies in the United States. The bridge embodies the distinctive characteristics of the bowstring arch truss in its two tubular steel arches which stretch between the abutments in a single span. The King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Company introduced numerous innovations in the truss design, notably the rectangular cross section of the steel tubing forming the arches; this feature was patented in 1861 by the company's founder, Zenas King, and is employed in the Westernport bridge. The bowstring arch truss was one of numerous designs for metal bridges developed during the second half of the 19th century; this design was most suitable for short spans and low traffic volume, as reflected in the location and use of the Westernport bridge.