Painter’s Bridge

Historic Bridges of Chester County's Lower Brandywine Creek watershed

Painter’s Bridge

Wilmington, Delaware 19803, United States

Created By: Sarah Mims

Point of Interest Details

Jones' Ford was located about two miles north of Brinton's Ford and was a crossing that was guarded by Continental troops on September 11, 1777. Built in 1857 at the site of the earlier Jones' Ford, Painter's Bridge spanned the Brandywine Creek on Street Road (current Route 926). The bridge connected Birmingham Township to the east with Pocopson Township to the west and was named for the Painter family that had large landholdings on each side of the Brandywine. The covered bridge was a Burr arch type with an overall span of 184 feet with a roadway width of 14 feet 7 inches. The bridge was built by Nathan Jester and William Gamble. Painter's Bridge was elevated well above the waters of the Brandywine Creek but the approaches were in the lowlands of the flood plain which closed the roadway in periods of extreme flooding. In winter months during floods, ice sheets would float downstream from Lenape and cross Street Road causing additional hazard. In 1902 the Supervisors of Pocopson Township commissioned stone piers be built connected with large timbers to break the ice flows. Suspended from the timbers were gates that alowed debris to pass through without clogging up the flow. In the dry periods these gates would serve to restrain the dairy cattle that were grazing on the Brandywine meadow. By 1937 the bridge had fallen into disrepair and the state replaced the aged wooden structure with an open four-span steel and concrete bridge on the stone abutments and piers from the original covered bridge. The steel I-beam structure was 190 feet long and 26 feet wide. The four-span bridge was rehabilitated in 1974. Before it closed in 2017 for replacement,the bridge was posted with a weight restriction of 26 tons and carried approximately 13,200 vehicles a day. In 2017 PennDOT replaced the 79-year-old bridge with a new three-span structure built at a higher elevation and rebuilt and raised 1,700 feet of the roadway approaches to make them less prone to flooding. As part of the project the nearby culvert over the Radley Run Creek was replaced with an 84-foot twin arch concrete culvert; and realigned 800 feet of Creek Road at its northern intersection with Route 926 (Street Road). The new, aesthetically designed bridge resembles the 1937 bridge and has stone form liners covering the piers and includes an open, higher railing. Carefully re-enter Creek Road and head north.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Historic Bridges of Chester County's Lower Brandywine Creek watershed


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