Paulinskill Viaduct – Heinesburg Trestle

Fisheye shot of Paulinskill Viaduct from road below

Paulinskill Viaduct

Looking down the bridge as it crosses over the river

Paulinskill Viaduct

Location: Near Blairstown, NJ

History
Constructed 1908-1910 by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, the Paulinskill Viaduct (aka Heinesburg Trestle) was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world. Although, it lost its title to a bridge known as the Tunkhannock Viaduct built in Pennsylvania shortly after. The bridge was opened to train traffic for the first time on Christmas Eve in 1911. It spans 1,100 feet and towers 115 feet over the Paulinskill River close to Blairstown. The concrete deck arch type bridge was designed by DL&W’s in-house engineers led by engineer Lincoln Bush. Train traffic over the bridge diminished in the latter half of the 20th century and the trestle saw its last train crossing in 1979. The bridge was officially closed in 1982. Since then it has catered to hikers, partyers, graffiti artists, bungie jumpers and urban explorers.

Aside from the information above, comments on Weird NJ’s post about the bridge include something about a supposed haunting, as well as possible satanic rituals if you’re into those sorts of things. I’m not, so I’ll leave it at that.

Perspective photo on top of bridge, looking down the line

Paulinskill Viaduct

Looking through graffitied arched openings in beams on top of bridge arches

Inside Paulinskill Viaduct

Looking down arch with steel ladder rungs embedded in arch wall

Inside Paulinskill Viaduct

Person's head appearing out of manhole in bridge deck

Paulinskill Viaduct Deck

Open manhole in Paulinskill Viaduct deck

Paulinskill Viaduct Manhole

Exploring the Bridge
If you intend to explore the bridge be aware that there is “no parking” underneath the bridge. I risked the ticket and parked there anyway since I figured State Troopers had better things to do than patrol the backroads on New Years day. The state has also engineered a solution to keep people from climbing inside the structure. There is a steel plate attached to the bridge abutment where one would normally climb in, making getting up and in difficult. Where there’s a will there’s a way though and someone has engineered a solution to the state’s solution by cutting down small trees and creating a lattice of tree trunks to climb up the wall. If you go this route be careful, one wrong move and the steel sheet turns into a ball buster. As an alternate route, there are manholes in the bridge deck that lead to crawl spaces with ladders that descend to the arches. Inside the trestle there are rooms within the bridge abutments and towers. You can also climb steel rungs up and down the arches through passageways traversing the beams. The interior of the structure has a lot of graffiti and little else but if you climb to the top you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view.

View of mountains and woods from top of Paulinskill Viaduct

View from Paulinskill Viaduct

For more images: Flickr

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