Editor’s Note: Photos and information are courtesy of Carol Laughlin of the Dubois Area Historical Society.
The Sandy Bridge, known to locals as the structure that connects Dubois City to Sandy Township by way of South Brady Street, was talked about for years before plans were submitted for construction in the late 1930’s.
The Dubois Courier of March 13, 1940 reported that the Dubois mayor questioned the District Engineer of the then Pennsylvania Department of Highways to learn the department’s reasoning for the project.
“It was explained that the federal government set aside a huge sum for grade crossing eliminations and that the local crossing is the one chosen for improvement.”
The project likely was undertaken by the WPA, a Roosevelt Administration jobs creation and construction program. The existing viaduct saw three fatalities within 37 years.
On July 13, the Courier reported an estimated cost of $213,000 for the project. At that time, four passenger trains and 31 freight trains passed over crossing every 24 hours. Neither Dubois City nor Sandy Township officials seemed to favor the project.
The U.S. entry into World War II put most federal civilian construction projects on hold for the duration of the war. Finally, in February of 1947, bids were accepted.
The bridge length was 776 feet but the approaches lengthened the project to 2,100 feet. On May 24, 1947, the Courier noted that the low bid for the project was $451,958.
Construction began in July and the new viaduct/bridge was open to traffic on Nov. 2, 1948. It is still a landmark that connects Dubois to Sandy Township.
The photos show the construction progress.