Thursday, February 16, 2017

Kinzua Viaduct

The Kinzua Viaduct, located on the outskirts of Mt. Jewett, McKean County, Pa., was once the longest (2053') and tallest (301') railroad bridge in the world. Built in 1882 and rebuilt in 1900 for a branch of the Erie Railroad, it remained in active service until 1959. In the summer of 1993 my family and extended family were camping  in the area and drove over for the day. Most of us walked the bridge, some stayed on solid ground. At this time the Knox and Kane Railroad was still using the bridge for tourist excursion train rides. On July 21, 2003 an F1 tornado passed through toppling 11 of the 20 towers. I was working in the area in February of 2005 and stopped by to see the damages. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania decided to turn the site (a State Park since 1970) into a attraction to show visitors the forces of nature. In 2011 a new visitors center and the Kinzua Sky Walk (a pedestrian walkway to an observation deck with a glass floor) opened.

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