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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Chesapeake City Bridge
MD-213 Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Crossing
Chesapeake City, DE

Chesapeake City Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 300000CECE01010.
• Location: 13.8 Miles West Of Reedy Point.
• Canal Elevation: 0 Feet (Sea Level).
• Highway: MD-213, Former US-213.
• Daily Traffic Count: 14,538 (2008).
• Bridge Type: Steel Tied Arch, Steel Plate Girder Approach Spans.
• Length: 3,955 Feet, 540 Foot Longest Span.
• Width: 2 Traffic Lanes, 25 Feet.
• Navigation Channel Width: 400 Feet.
• Height Above Water: 140 Feet.
• Date Built: 1949, Reconstructed 1978.
The Chesapeake City Bridge is a tall steel tied arch bridge. A tied arch has a horizontal frame member that connects the bottom ends of the arch. It prevents the arch from spreading outwards. This means that the main bridge piers only have to support the weight of the arch, and don't have hold the arch together to prevent it from spreading out wider. This allows the main bridge piers to be built much lighter than on a non-tied arch.

The Chesapeake City Bridge was built shortly after the Saint Georges Bridge. They share a very similar design. In fact, it is hard to tell them apart without looking at the scenery near the bridges. While the Saint Georges Bridge was built with 4 traffic lanes, the Chesapeake City Bridge carries only two lanes of traffic. The bridge does have a sidewalk, which the Saint Georges Bridge does not.

The original bridge at this location was a wooden swing bridge. This crossed the canal when the canal still used locks. Two locks were located in Chesapeake City. The canal was expanded and converted to sea level operation in the 1920s, so the swing bridge was removed. It was replaced with a steel lift bridge in 1927. The lift bridges on the C&D Canal were bottlenecks for ships. Each lift bridge was stuck several times. In fact, the lift bridge at Chesapeake City was struck and destroyed by the tanker Franz Klasen on July 28, 1942. Since the war was on at that time, the bridge was not replaced right away. In fact, the new high-level bridge did not open until 1949. The new bridge was refurbished in 1978. Despite that being over 30 years ago, the arch span still looks to be in excellent condition.

The Chesapeake City Bridge is the only bridge on the C&D Canal located in the state of Maryland. The remaining bridges are located east of the state line in Delaware. The bridge carries highway MD-213. This was once US-213, but the route was downgraded to a state highway in the 1970s. Nearby highway US-301 is a much more direct route south from the C&D Canal to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

The photo above is a view looking east towards the west face of the MD-213 Chesapeake City Bridge. The city is located on the north side of the canal just beyond the bridge. The C&D Canal Museum is located on the south side of the canal about one-half mile beyond the bridge.


Chesapeake City Bridge
The photo above is a closer view of the west face of the Chesapeake City Bridge. A small pleasure boat is passing under the bridge heading eastbound on the canal. The photo below is the west face of the approach spans on the north side of the channel, as seen from the south bank of the canal.

Chesapeake City Bridge
Chesapeake City Bridge
The photo above is a view of the main bridge span from a location just to the west of one of the piers on the south bank of the canal. Note that the approach spans on the far side of the canal curve a bit to the east. The photo below is a close view of the underside of the bridge deck where it meets the south main bridge pier.

Chesapeake City Bridge
Chesapeake City Bridge
The photo above is looking south along the west face of the approach spans on the south side of the canal. The photo above is looking directly up towards the bottom of the bridge deck where it meets one of the bridge support piers.

Chesapeake City Bridge
Chesapeake City Bridge
These two photos are the first of an eight photo set showing a typical southbound bridge crossing. In the photo above, we are approaching the north end of the structure. Note the US Army Corps of Engineers sign with the bridge name. The photo below is climbing the approach spans. The curve in the approach spans is apparent in this photo.

Chesapeake City Bridge
Chesapeake City Bridge
These two photos continue our southbound bridge crossing. In the photo above, we are rounding the curve in the approach spans. The photo below is just entering the main arch span.

Chesapeake City Bridge
Chesapeake City Bridge
These two photos continue our southbound bridge crossing. The photo above is a view from mid-span under the main bridge arch. The photo below is exiting the main arch span.

Chesapeake City Bridge
Chesapeake City Bridge
These two photos are the final two of an eight photo set showing a typical southbound bridge crossing. The photo above is heading down the approach span. It is apparent that there is a modest curve in the approach spans south of the canal, too. The photo below is existing the south end of the Chesapeake City Bridge.

Chesapeake City Bridge

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