The first crossing of the Delaware River at Easton was a ferry enfranchised to David Martin in 1739. Located near the present site of Scott Park at the junction of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers, it operated until the beginning of the nineteenth century. After about a half-century of use, the ferry could no longer adequately serve commerce and was replaced with a covered, wooden bridge that was opened to traffic on October 14, 1806.
The bridge was designed and built by Timothy Palmer, one of the foremost bridge builders of his time. Palmer’s covered bridge at Easton endured many floods and storms while other bridges fell. However, by the late nineteenth century, when horse-drawn streetcars were replaced by trolley cars, the old wooden bridge could no longer handle the demands of traffic and a new structure was erected. The new bridge was designed by James Madison Porter III, a graduate of nearby Lafayette College with a degree in civil engineering, who hailed from a family long prominent in Easton and Pennsylvania history. The Northampton Street Toll Supported Bridge sustained major damage during Hurricane Diane when floodwaters, 44 ft above normal water level, topped the roadway of the Northampton Street Bridge on August 19, 1955. Repairs carried out over the next two years made the bridge useable but the flood damage left a readily apparent sag in the center span that remains today. Another series of improvements were completed in the Summer of 2002 and included structural steel repair and replacement, painting, and the replacement and installation of sidewalk decking and new pedestrian railings The bridge is currently posted for a three-ton weight limit and a fifteen mile per hour speed limit.