APRIL 2023: PERKASIE RECEIVES FEMA GRANT TO REPAIR HISTORIC COVERED BRIDGE
PRESS RELEASE_FEMA & PEMA FUNDING APPROVED
Perkasie Borough has been awarded funding under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance program to repair its historic 1832 covered bridge.
Record flooding in Perkasie Borough caused by Hurricane Ida on September 1, 2021 caused significant damage to the South Perkasie Covered Bridge.
This page provides a timeline of recent efforts to repair the bridge, and will be updated with information about the project as it proceeds. Please scroll down to see a timeline of work to date.
2016: An assessment by Arnold Graton Sr, a nationally renowned Covered Bridge wright, reveals structural problems possibly caused by the bridge’s 1958 move and placement in Lenape Park.
2019: An examination of the bridge by Gilmore & Associates, the Borough’s engineer confirms the findings of the 2016 Graton assessment, and lists a number of issues in the bridge’s structural integrity.
2020: A grassroots fundraising campaign, “Save the South Perkasie Covered Bridge” led by the Perkasie Historical Society, working with Perkasie Borough, and the Bucks County Covered Bridge Society, raises $117,000. This money is held in trust by the Perkasie Historical Society, and is earmarked as potential matching funds in a Keystone Historic Preservation grant application to the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.
September 2020: The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission approves a $100,000 Keystone Grant to support the bridge restoration project. The $117,000 raised during the “Save the South Perkasie Covered Bridge” campaign is committed as matching funds, bringing the total funding available to $217,000. Perkasie Borough prepares bid documents for the project, to be advertised in September.
September 2021: Hurricane Ida causes major damage to the bridge and throws a wrench into the restoration plans. About 8” of rain floods the East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek, and at some point the water is 18” over the covered bridge’s deck. Part of the bridge moves off its abutments by about 15’.
Perkasie Borough Council approves the use of emergency funds to stabilize the bridge. The work is carried out under the supervision of a national Covered Bridge expert.
Perkasie Borough’s engineer requests bids from qualified contractors for a design and plan to rehabilitate the timber structure and to add new abutments to raise the bridge and better mitigate against future flood events.
September 2021 – January 2022: Perkasie Borough works with Bucks County Emergency Management to share Hurricane Ida damage reports and cost assessments with FEMA and PEMA.
February 2022: Borough staff begins meetings with FEMA and PEMA to determine if these emergency response agencies will provide funding to repair storm damage to the Covered Bridge and its abutments. This work is ongoing.
At this time the restoration project is on hold pending FEMA review and the bridge remains closed to the public.
History of the South Perkasie Covered Bridge
1832: Originally called “The Bridgetown Covered Bridge”, Bucks County’s oldest covered bridge was built as a road bridge; it was located on Main Street and spanned the Pleasant Spring Creek.
1958: The Perkasie Historical Society saved the bridge from demolition when it moved the bridge from its original location to its current location in Lenape Park. It took 8 days to move the bridge just 1 mile.
1959: Perkasie Borough assumed ownership of the bridge. The Perkasie Historical Society cares for the bridge and maintains it’s heritage.
1980: The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The bridge is now used as one of Perkasie’s historical sites and a romantic wedding location. This bridge is truly enjoyed by Perkasie and all of the surrounding boroughs and townships. Perkasie Borough residents take great pride in this historical site.