The original Centre Bridge-Stockton Toll Supported Bridge, constructed at the site formerly known as Reading’s Ferry, was opened to traffic in the spring of 1814. The construction of the bridge – a covered wooden structure – must have been exceptionally good, for it was the only bridge between Trenton and Easton not seriously damaged by the flood of October 10, 1903. The covered wood bridge consisted of six spans, with latticed type trusses known as the “Towne Truss”.
On the evening of July 22, 1923, disaster struck in the form of a fire that completely demolished the structure. Fifteen firemen went down with the last span, several being badly injured but miraculously all survived.
The existing bridge, opened to traffic in 1927, is a six-span, riveted steel Warren truss structure with a total length of 825 feet. The steel open-grate deck, added to the bridge in 1990, provides a clear roadway width of 20 feet between thrie-beam railings. A six-foot timber-plank pedestrian sidewalk, also replaced in 1990, is supported on the downriver truss by steel cantilever brackets. The piers and abutments, originally constructed in 1814 from random ashlar masonry, are stone-filled and rest upon crib foundations. In 1926 portions of the piers were encased with reinforced concrete.
On September 25, 2005 the Commission announced that it had adopted a resolution to lower the posted weight of the bridge from twenty (20) tons to five (5) tons following an in-depth inspection which determined that repairs had to be made to the lower chord of the downstream truss of the bridge. This five (5) ton posted loading has remained in effect through the rehabilitation project which is expected to be completed in the summer of 2007. The Commission is now studying the load posting once the rehabilitation is completed. Until such time as the study is completed the posted loading will remain at five (5) tons. The posted speed is 25 miles/hour.