Kinzua Bridge

Penny Rinker

Liverpool, United States

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Artist's Description

The park is noted as the home of the Kinzua Bridge spanning Kinzua Creek, original bridge built in 1882, subsequent bridge built in 1900 and destroyed in 2003 by a tornado. At the time it was built, the original (c. 1882) Kinzua Bridge was the highest, at 301 feet (92 m), and longest, at 2,053 feet (626 m), railway bridge in the world, given the distinction of being listed as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark (the listing was in 1977). The Erie Railroad company originally owned and operated the bridge.2

The Kinzua Bridge, in 2001, prior to its collapse.
William Scranton, then governor of Pennsylvania, signed legislation creating Kinzua Bridge State Park in 1963, although the park did not officially open until 1970.2 In 1987, excursion trains of the Knox and Kane Railroad again began running on the bridge. The trains traveled from Kane with a trip through the Allegheny National Forest and made a stop on the bridge before returning to Kane.2
The Knox and Kane Railroad offered excursion rail trips across the bridge until June, 2002, when it was closed for restoration. At approximately 3:20 p.m., July 21, 2003, a tornado from the east touched down at the park. The storm, classified as F-1 on the Fujita scale, tore down 11 of the 20 structure spans and nearby trees were snapped and uprooted. The failure was caused by badly rusted bolts holding the bases of the towers. The investigation reckoned that the whole structure oscillated laterally 4-5 times before fatigue broke the base bolts. The towers fell intact in sections, and they suffered impact damage with the ground. They have been left as they fell, and it is intended to make the ruins a visitor attraction to show the forces of nature at work. 5

Taken with a Sony point and shoot

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  • Penny Rinker
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