The Pike County Commissioners will host a grand reopening ceremony at the Mott Street Bridge in Milford at noon on Thursday, Jan. 2.
The ceremony will be held at the foot of Mott Street, where the bridge spans the Sawkill Creek from Milford Borough to Dingman Township.
The county-owned bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been closed to all traffic since 2011, and had previously been closed to motor vehicle traffic for decades. The county has been restoring the bridge since 2018.
“The Commissioners' Office is excited to kick off 2020 with the reopening of the Mott Street Bridge for all to enjoy,” said Pike County Commissioner Chair Matthew Osterberg.
County Engineer Michael Lamoreaux, P.E., of McGoey, Hauser, and Edsall, D.P.C., oversaw the recent structural rehabilitation of the historically significant bridge, which included pin replacements, floor beam replacement, and tension member replacement. An $85,000 grant from the National Park Service covered the engineering fee.
Pike County also received a $475,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program for a portion of the bridge restoration. Statewide Supplemental (Set-Aside) funds covered the remainder of the approximately $1.6 million project.
“The Mott Street Bridge reopening to pedestrian and bicycle traffic gives rebirth to the ‘The Glen,’ the beautiful forested areas that border the tranquil Sawkill Creek,” said Osterberg. “For over 100 years, visitors and residents have enjoyed some of most pristine Pike County landscapes at this location. The completion of the bridge once again reconnects Milford Borough to The Glen along with a beautiful walk to ‘The Knob,’ which offers a picturesque panoramic view of the Delaware River Valley.”
History of the Mott Street Bridge
The original Mott Street Bridge opened in 1881 to connect Milford Borough to what, in that day, was the primary route to Stroudsburg, Pa. The bridge was constructed by Mr. CS and S Palmer of Stroudsburg, according to the Dec. 27 edition of the Port Jervis Evening Gazette that same year.
After only a few years in use, the bridge was in “poor condition,” according to a Gazette article dated April 7, 1887. Arguments over whether to repair or replace the bridge, and who was responsible for it, carried out in the local political arena and newspapers for many years.
During that time, temporary repairs were made and further degradation occurred due to heavy usage and storms.
Ultimately, the commissioners decided to replace the bridge with a truss-style metal bridge of one span, which opened for travel in 1903 and will reopen, following a recent restoration, on Jan. 2.
The 1903 incarnation of the Mott Street Bridge – technically known as a Pratt Truss Bridge to honor its designers, engineers Willis Pratt and his father Caleb Pratt – was constructed by Penn Bridge Company, of Beaver Falls, Pa. An Evening Gazette article dated January 11, 1904 reported Pike County auditors as saying the bridge cost “not far from $6,000.”
Penn Bridge Company designed and built hundreds of truss bridges around the country during that era, according to an article in The Beaver County Times on August 15, 2017. Only a handful of these bridges remain.
“The Mott Street Bridge reopening to pedestrian and bicycle traffic gives rebirth to the ‘The Glen,’ the beautiful forested areas that border the tranquil Sawkill Creek. For over 100 years, visitors and residents have enjoyed some of most pristine Pike County landscapes at this location.The completion of the bridge once again reconnects Milford Borough to The Glen along with a beautiful walk to ‘The Knob,’ which offers a picturesque panoramic view of the Delaware River Valley.” --Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg