Through-Arches of Historic Lancaster County Bridge Erected

Local Firm Designs New Bridge Structure to Replicate Historic Bridge

Manheim, PA — Officials from RETTEW, a Lancaster-based engineering and consulting firm serving the mid-Atlantic region, and Kinsley Construction were on site last evening in Manheim to erect the precast concrete through-arches on the Big Chiques #2 Bridge, Lancaster County. Eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the prior bridge was one of only four reinforced-concrete through-arch-style bridges remaining in the commonwealth.

“As a firm with roots in Lancaster County, RETTEW was honored to be part of an initiative that not only preserves the county’s history but also improves a local roadway,” said Quentin D. Rissler, PE, project manager and chief bridge engineer, RETTEW. “We are very proud to have been involved in this unique bridge replacement project.”

Located in Penn and Rapho Townships, Big Chiques #2 Bridge was originally a one-lane bridge built in 1922 as a reinforced concrete tied through-arch structure carrying Auction Road over Big Chiques Creek. With the concrete bridge deteriorating to the point that it could not reliably meet modern-day traffic demands, in 2005 Lancaster County hired RETTEW to provide bridge replacement services for the Big Chiques #2 Bridge.

At the county’s request, RETTEW designed the replacement structure as a context-sensitive bridge, mimicking the through-arches of the original 1920s structure and replicating its technical and aesthetic features. The 47-ton, 72-foot-long through-arches serve as the main structural members and most prominent feature of the new bridge. Additionally, the new bridge is a wider two-lane structure and safe for modern-day traffic and truck weights. Kinsley Construction was contracted to construct the bridge and related highway improvements; the York-based firm was also responsible for the erection of the through-arches last evening.

“Lancaster County has a rich heritage,” added Rissler, “and they are to be commended for wanting to preserve their heritage by requiring that the new structure capture the historic features of the prior bridge.”

RETTEW has designed several context-sensitive bridges in Lancaster County, including the Cocalico #6 Bridge on Royer Road, Ephrata Township, and the SR 722 Bridge over Lititz Run, which is adjacent to the historic Oregon Mill in Manheim Township. Additional bridge projects presently under construction include the replacement of the Ridge Road (SR 1045) Bridge over Little Cocalico Creek in West Cocalico Township, and the repainting of a two-span truss bridge carrying Rock Hill Road over the Conestoga River in Conestoga and Manor Townships.

In addition to award winning context-sensitive bridge designs, RETTEW provides engineering, land development, planning, surveying and environmental consulting services to a broad range of clients in the mid-Atlantic region. Beginning in 1969 as a single-person office, today RETTEW has more than 230 employees and offices located in Camp Hill, Chambersburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster, Nazareth, and Schuylkill Haven, Pa.; and Liberty and Margaretville, N.Y. For more information on any of RETTEW’s services, please call 1-800-RETTEW-5 or e-mail