Bridge closed for years could be restored by non-profit group

SOUTH MIDDLETON TWP., Pa. - A bridge built in the 19th century in Cumberland County could see new life in a new state.

The Craighead Bridge, a truss bridge built in 1899 across the Yellow Breeches Creek near Route 174, has been closed to vehicle traffic since 2013 when county engineers ruled it unsuitable for vehicle traffic.

Now, a non-profit group called Workin' Bridges says it has secured federal funding to dismantle and remove the bridge.

"It was very important to us that it not die," Tom Faley, with the South Middleton Township Board of Supervisors, said. "We don't have the expertise to move it, nor do we have the funds to move it."

Area residents note its unique structure and age as reasons it should be preserved. The bridge is depicted on the township's official seal.

"They don't build bridges like this anymore," Faley said, noting that supervisors have not had a conversation about changing the seal if the bridge is removed.

"It's part of the community and part of the township, but it's seen its end of its lifespan," Wesley Tate, a man who has lived next to the bridge since 1984, added. "It's time for it to find a new home."

The bridge's replacement is currently under construction just 50 yards upstream and is expected to open sometime this summer.

The county, which owns the bridge, is expected to approve the offer later this week.

"If it's going to be able to be re-purposed, that's great instead of going to be cut up for scrap, that's whether it stays in Pennsylvania or goes some place else, if it's going to be preserved, I think that's the best thing for it," Tate said.