SHARPSVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – A big piece of the Shenango Valley and Pennsylvania history is finally coming down.
Crews used heavy cranes and cutting torches to dismantle the 124-year-old Kelly Road Bridge between Sharpsville and Hermitage.
Local resident Rod Alexander spent years working with PennDOT and federal authorities to save at least part of it from the wrecking ball — the old steel trusses.
“It’s the number one architectural feature that’s disappearing in the United States,” Alexander said.
Workers will salvage 17-foot sections from each end of the bridge and will eventually attach the two together again in a small park.
“They are going to make a mini 30-foot bridge that’s always going to sit on the Sharpsville side of the river,” Alexander said.
In the late 1800s, the span was built at a factory in Beaver Falls and shipped to Mercer County, but it wasn’t the first bridge to cross the Shenango River.
“There was a covered bridge there from 1880 to 1897. In 1897, they replaced it with a steel bridge,” Alexander said.
For years, the bridge tool by itself, allowing only one-way traffic. In the late 60s, the second span was added so that cars could travel in both directions at the same time.
PennDOT closed the bridge in 2005. At that point, it had deteriorated so badly it was no longer safe. Alexander says repairing it would have cost millions.
“We are so happy with the solution. It was a practical solution for everybody,” he said.
A new concert bridge should be completed by spring 2023.