Northampton Street Bridge - Easton, PA
The Northampton Street Bridge is a bridge that crosses the Delaware River, connecting Easton, Pennsylvania and Phillipsburg, New Jersey. It is known locally as the "Free Bridge" thus distinguishing it from the Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge.
The crossing was first a ferry crossing run by David Martin, beginning in 1739. The original wooden bridge opened on October 14, 1806. The original bridge was designed and built by Timothy Palmer, one of the most famous bridge builders of his time. Palmer's covered bridge at Easton endured many floods and storms while other bridges fell.
Horse-drawn streetcars were replaced by trolley cars in the late nineteenth century and the old wooden bridge could no longer handle the demands of traffic. A new structure was erected in 1895. The new bridge was designed by James Madison Porter III, an alumnus of nearby Lafayette College and later a professor of civil engineering there.
On August 19, 1955 the bridge sustained major damage during Hurricane Diane when floodwaters, 44 feet above normal water level, topped the roadway of the bridge. The bridge withstood this, but was damaged when large floating wooden pieces of the Portland-Columbia covered bridge, which was washed out in the same flood waters, jammed against it.
Repairs over the next two years made the bridge useable and additional improvements were completed in the summer of 2002.
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