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Blue Bridge
1954, Cumberland, Allegany County
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An unmistakable Cumberland landmark, the Blue Bridge carries Johnson Street (MD 942) over the North Branch of the Potomac River. This 315-foot-long, double-span bridge is one of the state’s few steel tied-arch designs. A tied-arch bridge works much like a bow (as in a bow and arrow) turned on its side. Just as a bow forms an arch because it is tied together by a string, the arch of this bridge curves and is tied into place by long steel eyebars. The road hangs from the arch by metal suspenders. The spikes, here known as anticlimb shields, share the same purpose as those on the metal-arch Baltimore City bridges: to keep off would-be climbers. In the 1950s blue was a widely available paint color and a popular choice for bridges.

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Revised: June 18, 2008