Photo courtesy DCNR

Skywalk at Kinzua Bridge State Park Temporarily Closed for Safety Inspection Due to Impact of High Winds

June 23, 2023

MOUNT JEWETT, Pa. – The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced that it is temporarily closing the Skywalk at Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County to evaluate the structure to ensure it remains safe after the impacts of recent high winds.

The skywalk will remain closed until the results of the inspection determine that the bridge remains safe for visitors.

The Kinzua Skywalk undergoes routine structural inspections by qualified engineers to evaluate the overall condition of the structure that was built more than 100 years ago. DCNR plans to begin structural and rehabilitation work on the skywalk in 2024.

As part of the routine operational procedures, there are set guidelines for when severe weather, such as high winds, impacts the skywalk. Following severe weather, DCNR will conduct a special inspection outside of the routine schedule to ensure that there has been no impact to the structural integrity of the skywalk.

These comprehensive inspections provide for both short- and long-term routine maintenance planning that will ensure the skywalk continues to remain safe for the heavy volume of pedestrian traffic that flock to see this iconic cultural remnant of the industrial age.

The focal point of the 339-acre park is the skywalk, a pedestrian walkway 225 feet above the valley floor. Prior to being a pedestrian skywalk, the viaduct spanned the entire valley and was once the longest and tallest railroad structure in the world.

The bridge was previously used to transport coal, timber, and oil, and then later tourist excursion trains across the Kinzua Gorge. In 2003, a tornado partially demolished the structure.

The skywalk and trails in the vicinity of the skywalk of inspection area are closed for the inspection, however, the park visitor center remains open. Other park facilities, including day-use areas and park trails remain open to visitors and give spectacular views of the bridge. Visitors will still have access to the Mount Jewett To Kinzua Bridge Trail that ends at Kinzua Bridge State Park, which was recently named Pennsylvania’s 2023 Trail of the Year.

DCNR is working to ensure the inspection and any necessary actions are completed efficiently to minimize the impact to operations. For updates, please Kinzua Bridge State Park’s website for advisories that will provide updates on the temporary closure.

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