rapps dam covered bridge destroyed by tractor trailer

rappsdamRapps Dam Bridge in East Pikeland  is one of those crazy beautiful covered bridges that dot Chester County.  It goes over the French Creek and it was only finished being restored in late 2011, to the tune of what was it? A million and a half dollars? It is East Pikeland but what we  would call Phoenixville, right?

Well thanks to a tractor trailer driver who must have been in a hurry, who knows how much repairs will cost THIS time.

Yup, a truck has decimated this beautiful bridge.

I don’t get it. Who drives an 18 wheeler on a covered bridge?  There is a sign with a height limit! Why don’t drivers know their limits and the specs of their rigs?

Phoenixville News: Truck hits and severely damages Rapps Dam Bridge (video)

By Frank Otto, fotto@21st-CenturyMedia.com

Posted: 04/29/14, 2:34 PM EDT

EAST PIKELAND — PennDOT crews said the Rapps Dam Covered Bridge is structurally unsound after a tractor-trailer carrying flowers damaged it by driving through it.

Although a sign warns that the bridge can only accommodate vehicles that are 10 feet high, the tractor-trailer drove into the bridge heading south on Rapps Dam Road around 9:45…Broken a beams hung from the covered bridge’s rafters or lay in splinters on the deck of the bridge and the roadway leading out.

Cpl. Ben Martin said the truck was driven by Antoine Branham hauling flowers Centerton Nursery, a family-owned nursery in Bridgeton, N.J., when it went into the bridge. Branham was driving a leased truck at the time.

A representative for Centerton who did not give her name said they had no comment on the incident and would have no information to offer.

PennDOT crews surveyed the damage on the bridge and said it was structurally unsound. Cones and orange fencing blocked it off and will continue to for the foreseeable future

So….as per media reports, the truck was a flower or nursery delivery truck owned by Centerton Nursery (345 Woodruff Rd, Bridgeton, NJ 08302)

Now the media reports no comment from the business but I would have to ask if I was going to interview them how they could have a truck that big with a licensed driver think they could drive over an old covered bridge? But I can only ask that question here.

I am appalled and truthfully this driver’s actions could put this nursery into serious financial hock, because face it, aren’t they ultimately responsible for this accident if he was driving for them? And I notice that 6ABC says driver was on the job four days? So why wasn’t someone driving with him if that new? That is a big truck.

This bridge was built around 1866, right? Originally? 6ABC WPVI says that the bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places too. I am so sad about this bridge. I hope it gets rebuilt. But we are talking about PENNDot, right?

rapps 6abc


Covered bridge heavily damaged by tractor trailer in East Pikeland Twp.

Officials have closed a road in East Pikeland Twp., Pa. after a tractor trailer was driven through a covered bridge, heavily damaging the structure.It happened Tuesday morning on Rapps Dam Road at the Rapps Dam Covered Bridge, which spans French Creek.

Police say a truck carrying potted plants was heading over the bridge from Route 113 toward Route 23.

The truck apparently made it all the way through the bridge, but not before tearing out most of the wooden support beams…..Police say the driver of the truck was Antoine Branham, and he had been on the job just four days…The bridge was originally constructed by Benjamin F. Hartman in 1866 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.



5 thoughts on “rapps dam covered bridge destroyed by tractor trailer

  1. It’s sort of betwixt Phoenixville and Kimberton. Definitely outside the Borough of Phoenixville. Even though PennDot has condemned it as unsafe, it may be that Chester County or East Pikeland Twp. is actually responsible for repairing it/ sub-contracting the repairs. Insurance issues and liabilities of the trucking company aside, the re-building will probably be a long and arduous process. Sad and completely unnecessary.

  2. This is very sad. Also completely insane that the guy continued to drive through the entire bridge AFTER realizing that he hit a beam on the way in! So much of this damage could have been avoided. (Not to mention completely avoided if he simply was aware of the height of his vehicle… “my GPS told me to go this way” is never a valid excuse!!) Very sad.

  3. The idiot had only driven tractor trailers for five days…whatever that means…did he just get his license…just get a job after he got his license, and how long ago did he get his license? Crazy!

  4. Ok I have to play devils advocate here. Yes I am upset the bridge was destroyed but look at it this way, a bridge can be rebuilt a human life can not be brought back. I am thankfull that no one including the driver was hurt. We all like to think we know what we would do in a particular situation but until you are in the thick of it, you really have no clue at all. Finally let’s not for get we are human and we make mistakes lets just hope he learned from his.

    • You are right about human life, however while humans will make mistakes, this goes way beyond an “oopsie” . This guy didn’t have to go on a historic covered bridge, he chose to. He didn’t know the height of his rig and is supposed to…even if truck is rented. This isn’t any regular mistake it is a $1.5 million dollar mistake and that is the price of a few years ago to restore this bridge.

      So you will pardon me if while I get where you are coming from, I feel differently.

Comments are closed.