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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Summit Bridge
US-301 Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Crossing
Summit, DE

Summit Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 1494016.
• Location: 9.6 Miles West Of Reedy Point.
• Canal Elevation: 0 Feet (Sea Level).
• Highway: US-301, DE-71, DE-896.
• Daily Traffic Count: 29,448 (2006).
• Bridge Type: Continuous Steel Thru Truss, Deck Truss Approaches.
• Length: 2,058 Feet, 600 Foot Longest Span.
• Width: 4 Traffic Lanes, 59 Feet.
• Navigation Channel Width: 400 Feet.
• Height Above Water: 138 Feet.
• Date Built: 1960, Reconstructed 1987.
The Summit Bridge is the westernmost bridge over the C&D Canal located in Delaware. There is one more bridge located west of the Summit Bridge, but it is located in Maryland. The Summit Bridge carries highway US-301 as well as DE-71 and DE-896. The bridge was once planned to be part of a major north-south freeway connecting I-95 to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, but those plans have been abandoned. The major north-south route was built as DE-1 using the nearby Roth Bridge.

At first glance, the Summit Bridge looks very similar to the Reedy Point Bridge. Both are about the same size, and both are cantilever style truss bridges. However, they have some significant differences. First, the Summit Bridge is located in an area where the land on either side of the canal is about 100 feet above sea level, resulting in the need for fewer approach spans. In fact, the Summit Bridge has only 6 approach spans, whereas the Reedy Point Bridge has 64 approach spans. Second, the Summit Bridge has only 4 main support piers, whereas the Reedy Point Bridge has 6 main bridge piers.

The original Summit Bridge was located about 3/4 of a mile to the east. It was a wooden covered bridge. It was 250 feet long and stood 90 feet above the canal channel. This bridge was removed when the canal was expanded in the 1920s. The replacement bridge was a steel lift bridge. That bridge was repeatedly struck by ships. It was finally retired in the early 1960s when the canal was widened to 450 feet. The current Summit Bridge was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers to cross the new wider canal channel in 1960.

Update—the US Army Corps of Engineers managed a maintenance and repair project on the Summit Bridge starting in April, 2011, and will run through December, 2012. The project featured lane closings through much of 2011 and the summer of 2012 that are projected to end on August 20, 2012. The bridge was fully closed from December 2, 2011 to December 5, 2011, and again May 11, 2012, through May 14, 2012. The project includes removing lead paint, repainting the structure, and replacing expansion joints.

The photo above is a view of the bridge truss structure looking east from a fishing pier on the north bank of the C&D Canal. The Eastern Shore Pipeline Bridge is visible in the distance, as well as the Conrail Lift Bridge being just barely visible in the distance. The photo below is a closer view of the main channel span as seen from the end of the fishing pier that is visible in the photo above.


Summit Bridge
Summit Bridge
The photo above is a close view of the truss structure at the south main bridge pier as seen from the north bank of the canal. The photo above is a detail view of the truss as it sits on top of the south main bridge pier.

Summit Bridge
Summit Bridge
The photo above is looking north at the north approach span from directly under the Summit Bridge. The photo below is a similar view from just west of the bridge. Note that the canal spans have a wide truss, but the approach span has a much narrower truss.

Summit Bridge
Summit Bridge
The photo above is looking south across the C&D Canal along the west face of the Summit Bridge. The photo below is a close view of the bridge truss as it sits on top of the south main bridge pier.

Summit Bridge
Summit Bridge
These two photos are the first of a six photo set showing a typical bridge crossing heading southbound. The photo above is heading up the grade towards the north end of the bridge. The photo below is entering the north end of the bridge.

Summit Bridge
Summit Bridge
These two photos continue our southbound bridge crossing. The photo above is approaching the north end of the truss structure. The photo below is a view from inside the bridge truss.

Summit Bridge
Summit Bridge
These two photos are the final two of a six photo set showing a typical southbound bridge crossing. The photo above is approaching the south end of the truss structure. The photo below is approaching the south end of the bridge.

Summit Bridge

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