8 votes

Alaska - Mears Memorial Bridge



Photo taken by Chris Schmitt


Street View 

Statement of Significance 

Written by Nathan Holth

This bridge's main span of 700 feet makes it one of the longest simple truss spans ever constructed. The second longest simple truss span in the world when completed, it is only 20 feet shorter than the Metropolis Bridge that Modjeski had designed six years earlier. The Metropolis Bridge was the longest simple truss span in the world when built. It is also noteworthy for its association with Ralph Modjeski, one of the most famous bridge engineers in the 20th Century. The Michigan Technic reported that it this bridge cost $1,250,000:


Pennsylvania through truss bridge over Tanana River on single track of the Alaska Railroad in Nenana
Nenana, Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska
Open to traffic
Built 1923
- American Bridge Co. of New York (Steel Fabrication)
- Colonel Frederick Mears of Omaha, Nebraska (Project Engineer)
- Ralph Modjeski of Bochnia, Poland (Chief Bridge Engineer)
- Alaska Railroad (ARR)
Pennsylvania through truss
Length of largest span: 700.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+64.56710, -149.07864   (decimal degrees)
64°34'02" N, 149°04'43" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
6/400408/7161841 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Fairbanks C-5 SE
Inventory number
BH 38238 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 13, 2014: Essay added by Nathan Holth
  • November 18, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • April 25, 2010: New photos from Chris Schmitt
  • March 31, 2010: Updated by Craig Philpott: added street view



Alaska - Mears Memorial Bridge
Posted February 25, 2015, by Jai B. Kim,PE (jaikim [at] bucknell [dot] edu)

There is a valid approach to preserve this important historic

bridge(REF. The Secretary of Interior's Standards with Regard to Repair, Rehabilitation, and Replacement Situations,endorsed in " FINAL REPORT A MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR HISTORIC BRIDGES IN VIRGINIA".

The approach -Rehabilitate the bridge to carry an HS 20 (36 tons) economically and as quickly as possible.

ARR - Mears Memorial Bridge
Posted March 13, 2014, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Nobody has noted how significant this bridge is so I added a statement of significance. At 700 feet its one of the longest simple truss spans around.

Mears Memorial Bridge
Posted September 27, 2011, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

A bridge in Nenana... over the Tanana... makes me want a Banana... ;-P