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A Road Named N.O.P., Arsenal and Whiteford; Part 4 – New 1948 N O P Route Cuts Traffic Hazards

1948 Northeast Looking Aerial View of Bridges over the Codorus Creek, with the York Naval Ordnance Plant in the background; Springettsbury Township, York County, PA (Aerial Photo Originally in Sunday News, York, PA Edition, August 15, 1948; Descriptions by S. H. Smith)

An article in the August 15th 1948 issue of the Sunday News, York, PA Edition contained the headline: “New N O P Route Cuts Traffic Hazards.” This headline has a bearing on the name of a stretch of road in Springettsbury Township.  This is the fourth part of a series examining the reasons for the names associated with this stretch of road.  Other posts in this series and related posts include:


During June 1884 York County experienced torrential rains.  Many of the bridges along the Codorus were swept away by the raging creek.  The bridge spanning the Codorus Creek, near where Route 30 Arsenal Road now exists, was one of those swept away by the swollen waters.  A wrought-iron, 8-ton-limit, bridge was the replacement span in 1884 (Number 1 on photos).

The newspaper marveled that the wrought-iron bridge was wide enough for horses and wagons to pass.  Enter the automobile; as auto weights increased the span could only be classed safely as a one-way bridge.  With only one car allowed on the bridge at a time, can you imagine the traffic tie-ups we’d have today in that area?

The August 15th 1948 issue of the Sunday News, York, PA Edition noted the following about the imposed weight limit:

This didn’t bother anyone too much until the present Naval Ordnance Plant was built.  What was once a quiet little country road became a heavily-traveled highway.  A one-way bridge on a heavily-traveled highway is bound to be a safety menace, particularly when the approaches are crooked.  Although the bridge officially has an 8-ton limit, trucks twice that weight traveled over the structure.  The bridge shivers and shakes like “Shiverin Liz”, but somehow, despite her age, she hasn’t fallen in the Codorus yet.

When Capt. E. C. Rook became commanding officer of the Naval Ordnance Plant in 1946 he was quick to observe the bridge’s 8-ton limit.  He promptly issued orders that no heavy trucks operating between NOP and the Naval Supply Depot in Mechanicsburg were to use the bridge.  Instead they used Louck’s Mill Road to Arch Street and then to George Street, or vice versa.

Both of the new 2-lane, concrete bridges and route were dubbed the New N O P Route by the newspaper article.  The bridge over the Codorus Creek (Number 2 on photos) and bridge over the railroad tracks (Number 3 on photo) are located where Route 30 Arsenal Road now exists; they were widened from two-lane to four-lane in the late 1960s.

1937 and 1956 Aerial Photos showing 1884 Bridge 1 and 1948 Bridge 2 several years before and after the 1948 Aerial Photo at the beginning of this post (1937 Aerial Photo from Penn Pilot and 1956 Aerial Photo from York County Archives; Annotations by S. H. Smith)

The 1948 bridges eliminated several traffic hazards.  The bridge weight limits were no longer an issue; finally two-way traffic.  The approaches to the bridge were now straight line.  The at-grade road was eliminated at the railroad tracks; where vehicles previously had to wait long times by long shifting freight trains.

1960 Directions to N.O.P. noting that the Plant is along Arsenal Rd. (Whiteford St.)

In a few weeks I’ll do a post titled “A Road Named N.O.P., Arsenal and Whiteford; Part 5.” I’ll return my focus to the naming of the Whiteford Street (Road) portion of this road.

I hope you’ve noticed Number 6 on the photos; a barn that becomes San Carlo’s.  Up till 1948 the main east-west road ran north of the barn; after 1948 the main-east-west road runs south of the barn.  That change happened only 64 years ago; some of my readers must remember driving over the “Shiverin Liz” wrought-iron bridge?  If you have a memory of this bridge, post a reply.

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts