Skip to main content

Bridges of the Lackawanna Railroad: Paulinskill Viaduct (Hainesburg, NJ)

The early 1900s was a period of great expansion and construction when it comes to America’s railroads. During the period of 1909-1915, the Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Railroad (or DL&W, or Lackawanna for short) oversaw the construction of four monstrous reinforced concrete bridges across northwest New Jersey and northeast Pennsylvania to serve its new Lackawanna Cut Off and Summit Cut Off tracks along the New York to Binghamton freight rail service. In due course, we’re going to discuss these four landmark structures, their local/regional significance, and how you can view & experience them up close (legally) for yourself.

We’ll begin near the town of Hainesburg, NJ and the Paulinskill Viaduct, located a short distance from NJ Route 94 a few miles east of Columbia. Built in 1910, this bridge spans the Paulins Kill Valley with an overall length of about 1,100 ft with a height of up to 115 ft above the valley floor. To help span the valley, it features seven concrete arch spans of 120 ft each. It was the largest reinforced concrete bridge in the world when built, surpassing its nearby counterpart on the Delaware River. Since reinforced concrete was not yet a widespread building material, this bridge’s construction made headlines within the global engineering community for its groundbreaking widespread use of the material. It has proven to be an extremely durable and strong structure that continues to stand the test of time over a century after being built.

The Paulinskill Viaduct carried rail traffic into the 1970s, when the line was finally abandoned and the bridge fell into disrepair. The train tracks and rail bed were removed in the 1980s and no other modifications have been made to the structure since. Plans are currently in the works to restore this bridge to its former glory be reinstating passenger rail service along the Lackawanna Cut Off as part of a proposed commuter rail line extension toward Stroudsburg and Scranton, however nothing appears to be imminent on that front at this time.

Long popular with urban explorers since its abandonment in the 1980s, this bridge is difficult to view in full from ground level – it requires legal aerial photography methods in order to fully take in the scale of this structure. Even so, mother nature has gradually overtaken this bridge in the past century with much of the structure now shrouded or hidden by the surrounding wilderness, which makes it difficult to appreciate the size of the structure in its expansive location. In response to the long-time problems in the area with trespassers, the New Jersey State Police is said to patrol the area on a regular basis. The most legal and straight-forward way to explore this bridge is to view it from Station Road a short distance south of NJ 94 in Hainesburg. The road passes beneath the structure and is home to multiple roadside interpretive signs outlining the history of the area and its signature bridge.

The photos you're about to look through below were all taken legally with the use of a quadcopter drone. Always remember to explore your favorite landmarks in a safe, legal, and responsible manner.



How to Get There:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor which has been traversed by numerous historic highways.  The most notable of these highways is known as the "Ridge Route."  This article is dedicated to the Ridge Route and the various highways that preceded it.  This blog is part of the larger Gribblenation US Route 99 Page.  For more information pertaining to the other various segments of US Route 99 and it's three-digit child routes check out the link the below. Gribblenation US Route 99 Page Ridge Route corridor introdution The Ridge Route as originally envisioned was a segment of highway which was completed in 1915 between the northern Los Angeles city limit

Establishing the numbering conventions of California's chargeable Interstates

The Federal Highway Aid Act of 1956 brought the Interstate Highway System into existence which would largely be constructed by Federal Highway Administration fund matching.  The Interstate Highway System was deliberately numbered to run opposite the established conventions of the US Route System.  While the Interstate Highway numbering conventions are now well established there was a period during the late 1950s where they were still being finalized.  This blog examines the history of the establishing of the chargeable Interstate Highway route numbers in California.  The above blog cover depicts the Interstate Highway route numbers requested by the Division of Highways in the Los Angeles area during November 1957.  The establishment of the numbering conventions of California's chargeable Interstates The Interstate Highway System was not created in a vacuum by way of the passage of the 1956 Federal Highway Aid Act.  The beginning of the Interstate Highway System can be found in the