Project Information

Welcome to the Mead Avenue Bridge Project

City of Meadville and Vernon Township
Crawford County, Pennsylvania

     Crawford County, PENNDOT District 1-0, and the Federal Highway Administration, along with a team of consultants have completed the engineering and environmental studies for the currently closed Mead Avenue Bridge. The FHWA has approved the environmental documents on February 1, 2011, providing environmental clearance for the project.

     The Crawford County Commissioners in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Engineering District 1-0, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), along with a consulting Team, have been undertaking design and environmental studies for proposed improvements for the Mead Avenue Bridge. Mead Avenue bisects the 4th Ward of the City of Meadville. The 4th Ward, an industrial/commercial area, is bound on the west by French Creek and on the east by the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad mainline, connecting Vernon Township to the central city commercial/business area. Mead Avenue is an important transportation link to the center of Meadville.

     Originally a wooden bridge was built at this site in 1828. It was replaced with a steel truss Whipple Bridge in 1871 by the Penn Bridge Works of New Brighton, PA. In 1907 the bridge was condemned as unsafe to carry trolley cars. In 1912, the original Whipple trusses were reinforced by grafting Baltimore trusses to the outside of the bridge to improve load-carrying capacity. Due to its age and unique engineering significance/construction the bridge was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This County bridge, although posted with a 4 ton weight limit, was carrying approximately 4500 cars per day over French Creek when the bridge was closed due to structural and safety issues, on March 23, 2007. It remains closed.

     This is an important bridge replacement project for Crawford County and PennDOT A project team was formed to advance studies for determining the best option to serve the community of Meadville and the traveling public. Engineering design and environmental studies are basically completed. To support the environmental and design phases, an active Citizens Advisory Committee was formed; 7 Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meetings and a number of public meetings have been held both to inform and to gather input from the public and public officials regarding the status of this bridge project.

     After many meetings, presentations and discussions, the CAC reached a general consensus that, (and a majority of the public supports) the replacement of this historic bridge on the existing alignment. During these studies and the public involvement process the FHWA has approved the Purpose and Needs Study and the Alternatives Study that determined that the Option that replaces the structure on the existing alignment will advance further in design. The Design Team has completed the following Federal and State regulatory processes and studies: Cultural Resources, Endangered Species, and Floodplain/Waterways permitting. Preliminary design continues to advance with the foundation borings recently completed and the hydraulic analysis completed.

Crawford County Government Federal Highway Administration Pennsylvania Department of Transportation