38-06-06) (WGCB PA-06-06): (1869; rehabilitated 1959;
Restored 1984) A single-span multiple Kingpost with Burr arch truss
218' 1" over Tulpehocken Creek. Located: In Berks County Heritage
Park, north of Reading, Pennsylvania between Bean and Spring Townships,
Pennsylvania. Directions: From the US 222, Reading bypass,
take the Reading Airport Exit. Go south for 0.3 mile to Red Bridge
Road (see sign for Berks County Heritage Park on the right).
Turn right, and go 0.7 mile on Red Bridge Road to the parking area.
The bridge is down the hill just past the C. Howard Heister Canal Center.
The longest single span covered bridge in Pennsylvania and was built at
a cost of $7,650.00. Between 1867 and 1884, it spanned the Union
Canal System. On April l0, 1959 barricades were erected at both ends
of the bridge. During the next four months, the County spent $1,438.79
rehabilitating the bridge. Four steel cables were connected to the
west end of the bridge for support, several wooden bracing beams were replaced
and some floor planks were replaced. After the reinforcing, the bridge
was reopened to traffic on August 3, 1959. For the next three months,
a policeman was on duty at the bridge from 6 AM to 9 AM and 3:30 PM to
6:30 PM to allow only two cars through the bridge at a time. It was
closed for good on October 23, 1959 when the Warren Street Bypass was reopened.
The bridge was restored from June to December 1984 at a cost of $212,224.00.
The siding was replaced, several floor boards were replaced, it was jacked
up, realigned, tightened, camber restored, and the rotted arch ends were
replaced along with cedar roof shingles. It has a high double Burr
arch truss system which sandwich the multiple kingpost frame work.
The arches rest on stone and mortar abutments, and it has short stone
and mortar wing walls capped with concrete. It is covered with barn
red painted horizontal clapboard siding on both the sides and portals and
it is open under the eves for ventilation. The white trimmed portals
feature the step or store front design unique to a few Pennsylvania covered
Bridges. The deck consists of wide lengthwise planking and it has
a cedar shake roof. The area around the bridge is now known as the
Berks County Heritage Center. Also known as the Wertz's Covered
Bridge and the Red Covered Bridge. It was listed on the
National Register of Historic Places on November 17, 1978. (Jun 2008)