PennDOT participated in a ceremony June 28 designating a local bridge the H. Donald Whipple Memorial Bridge in honor of the department employee killed on the job in 2016. Whipple was the 87th employee killed on the job since 1970.
The bridge named in honor of Whipple is the Route 405 bridge spanning Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks and a tributary to Chillisquaque Creek in Northumberland County, part of
PennDOT District 3.
The naming of the Route 405 bridge was significant because Whipple was instrumental in designing it. He drafted the entire 55-sheet bridge plan and designed the deck steel for this two-span structure. The project was completed in 2014. Although it was not the first bridge he worked on, Whipple considered it his most memorable due to the size and complexity.
The event was attended by many of Whipple's friends from the district office; family members including his parents, Dennis and Sharon, and his wife, Julia; and representatives of the offices of Sen. John Gordner and Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver.
"Today is a special day. We are remembering, celebrating Don's life and recognizing Don's accomplishments," said District 3 Executive Sandra Tosca. "While his memory will live on in our hearts, the naming of this bridge will serve as a physical memorial to an outstanding individual who served the department with distinction and was loved and respected by everyone."
Maggie Jackson, a project manager for the district, worked with Whipple on designing the Route 405 bridge.
"Don was a fantastic co-worker and an absolute joy to work with," she said. "He had an excellent work ethic, but I'll remember him most as a caring friend who we deeply miss."