MAHONING -- It's only a bridge over a creek in a remote area of Armstrong and
Clarion counties with no more than 80 vehicles crossing a day, but the new Climax
Bridge bridges the needs of two counties, said state, county and local officials at its
"It's the linkage," said Armstrong County Commissioner Chairwoman Patty
Kirkpatrick. "Anything that benefits the citizens of the two counties is a good
thing. It's a vital link for nearby residents and those traveling through the
The Climax Bridge is on the Armstrong and Clarion county line along township
road 970 (Climax Road) spanning Redbank Creek next to the village of Climax
between Mahoning in Armstrong and Porter in Clarion.
The bridge is owned and maintained by Armstrong which has a cooperative
agreement with Clarion to share maintenance costs. Armstrong shares several
other bridges with neighboring counties, officials said.
It replaces the former bridge which was an open-grate, single lane, about 11-foot
wide, steel girder truss structure. The old bridge was built more than a century
ago for a brick refractory in Climax to connect to the railroad. Contractors
demolished it last year to make way for the site of the new bridge.
The new $1.9 million Climax Bridge is a 260-foot-long, one-lane structure over the
creek. It is two spans of continuous steel girder and is about 15 feet wide curb to
curb. The bridge has a concrete deck sealed with a penetrating protective coating
PennDOT and county officials determined that the structure did not have enough
traffic to warrant the cost of constructing a two-lane bridge. Armstrong County
Commissioner Rich Fink agreed with keeping the bridge one lane, which he said
would have added $1 million to the cost.
"That's smart-sizing," said Fink of the savings. "One lane -- it fits here."
The bridge was designed by Widmer Engineering of Beaver Falls. The contractor
was Francis J. Palo of Clarion. Construction began last August.
"The old bridge was in such bad shape, it went down easily," said Charlie Clark,
Palo project manager. "Construction went well on the new bridge. We had no
problems on the job."
"The importance was high for both counties," said Clarion County Commissioner
Chairman Dave Cyphert. "It's safer and gives an alternative route."
Fink added that it was important to have a sound bridge in place for emergency
services. During 1996 flooding, it was the only transportation route across
Redbank Creek, he said.
"The counties are so closely connected," said state Rep. Donna Oberlander,
R-Clarion, whose district includes both Porter in Clarion and Mahoning in
Armstrong. "What's good for the area is good for both the counties."