The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is awarding the City of Allentown an $80,000 Keystone Historic Preservation Grant for the rehabilitation of Bogert’s Bridge in Lehigh Parkway.
The covered bridge which spans Little Lehigh Creek was built in 1841 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Closed to vehicular traffic, but open to foot and bicycle traffic, the bridge is utilized by more than 500,000 pedestrians each year. It is the only remaining covered bridge in the area.
The cost of addressing the most critical structural and safety concerns while maintaining the historical integrity of the bridge is estimated at $500,000. The $80,000 grant requires a match and will get the city started on preparation of construction documents; preparation of all permits; review of right-of-way documents; preparation of plans, specs and cost estimates; construction management; and inspection as needed.
“The rehabilitation of Bogert’s Bridge has been on the city’s project list for a while, and I am pleased that this grant will help us get started,” said Mayor Ray O’Connell. “The bridge is important to the thousands of people who enjoy activity in the parkway. It is also an important piece of history, not just to Allentown, but to the region.”
According to Allentown Director of Parks & Recreation Lindsay Taylor, the parkway is home to dozens of events. “Whether it is running a 5k, fishing, birdwatching or educational field trips, thousands of pedestrians cross that bridge every week. It is one of just two crossings in the parkway. Its long-term service is key to park users.”
Sitework will include regrading and paving approaches to the bridge and placing rock around the piers.
The concrete will be repaired along wing walls and the arch pedestals under the bridge. The stone wall approaches will be repaired and repointed. Failed and deteriorated top and bottom chords will be replaced along with the timber plank decking, timber beams, timber members and timber siding. The roof slate and wood planking will also be replaced.
Lehigh Parkway includes more than 476 acres of woodlands, meadows and prominent historical structures. The former Bogert family homestead ca. 1741, located just above the north entrance to the bridge, is currently having its interior restored thanks to an anonymous donor.