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Tower Bridge (California)
Posted May 27, 2013, by Jay Gavron (gothampark [at] comcast [dot] net)

I'm researching and creating a print for the Sacramento Art Deco Society celebrating Art Deco in Sacramento. SADS Board Member Bruce Marwick shared with me the attached photo he found at the California State Archives of an original drawing by the then State Architect, Alfred Eichler. Eichler was State Architect from approximately 1930 to 1960. This drawing, in the artists hand, is one of the first conceptual renderings of the famed Tower Bridge.

Posted May 27, 2013, by Pat Henderson (pwdh88[at]peak [dot] org)

I recall that one of the main reasons this span was replaced in 1969 was that a horizontal overhead beam on the western side was heavily damaged by an oversized log truck load. The bridge was too old and the damage too severe to justify repairing it, so it was torn down and replaced by the present span.

-- Pat Henderson


Posted May 27, 2013, by Pat Henderson (pwdh88[at]peak [dot] org)

When the Corp of Engineers still dredged the Willamette river, there was considerable barge traffic on the waterway.

The Van Buren street bridge was designed to swing open to allow large craft or loads to pass upstream.

I'm not certain if an electrical motor was ever installed on the opening mechanism, but I do know that one night some Oregon State College students got hold of the crank that was used as a back-up mechanical system and manually cranked the bridge open, much to the consternation of morning motorists. ( It was the only Corvallis span over the river at the time.)

Officials stopped stowing the crank on the bridge itself and eventually rendered the opening mechanism inoperable to prevent a repeat episode, especially after dredging stopped and the the river was no longer used by large vessels.

( You don't want to know what engineering students then did to the city's traffic lights.)

-- Pat Henderson


Thousands of Bridges at Risk of Freak Accidents and other notes
Posted May 27, 2013, by K. A. Erickson

The newspapers in my state have run several articles on this, some highlighting other structurally deficient bridges or collisions from years past, the Beebe bridge in Chelan for example. One published a list of bad bridges in the county without ever bothering to wonder what it was that made them supposedly bad in the first place or even if the bad bridge was recently repaired and does not belong there. Try correcting them as Julie or Jason note and you get nowhere. They, the editors of the media, do not care. The truth is not as sexy.

Functionally obsolete bridges do the job and can continue to do so provided people pay attention to the rules. I do concur with Scott Gavin that no matter how many warning signs you put up saying “Low Clearance” or “Weight limit x tons” trucks will go over it anyways, “"Mah GPS said this wuz the short cut to the lumber milll... heyuck." "No sign is gonna tell me where I can go! I can do whatever I want!"

An author cited in the link McCray posted says:

"They (bridges) have been left hanging with little maintenance for four decades now," he said. "There is little political will and less political leadership to commit the tens of billions of dollars needed" to fix them.

Eisenhower understood the need for good roads, something that held the country together. Nowadays people disagree about everything, the most important “Who pays for this?”

The corporations would love the public to pay for them. In Montana they have lobbied for an unlimited access road to Canada to haul their drilling equipment for the fracking fields. All low overhead bridges to be replaced and narrow bridges widened to accommodate their over-height, overweight load. Of course if the load permitting process is easily done online without ever visually seeing whatever it is that gets moved …

Indeed it would appear that company in question, Mullen Trucking, whose load clipped the I-5 Skagit River Bridge was taking that route to avoid protesters against the drilling of Tar Sands. There had been incidents in the past near Missoula. They certainly have the money but the public will likely be ones footing the bill for repair and or replacement.

A colleague from the UK says the cost for a project there includes monies for maintenance. Maintenance is not a priority in America. Why fix a bridge someone else built when you can have your smiling face featured on the local rag cutting the ribbon on something new? So it goes.

McCray's linked article continues:

“The federal Highway Trust Fund, which provides construction aid to states, is forecast to go broke next year. The fund gets its revenue primarily from federal gas and diesel taxes. But revenues aren't keeping up because people are driving less and there are more fuel-efficient cars on the road.”

Revenues are not keeping up because corporations are not paying their fair share.

“Many transportation thinkers believe a shift to taxes based on miles traveled by a vehicle is inevitable, but there are privacy concerns and other difficulties that would preclude widespread use of such a system for at least a decade.”

Another way to be tracked by the government. And truckers will likely be exempt.

“Of the $27 billion designated for highway projects under the stimulus program, about $3 billion went to bridge projects.”

A drop in the bucket to the tonnes of billions spent on wars overseas, tax cuts, and aid to countries that hate America. A look at the various forums online sees that general consensus. And what of our veterans returning? Will they be cared for? Or will we have to cut Food Stamps to fund the VA? America cannot even be bothered to maintain monuments, including bridges dedicated to, or cemeteries to the fallen from previous wars, “Never forget!” they said, except that they did.

“A Washington state lawmaker, has proposed a 10-cent gas hike to help pay for projects, though the effort has been held up by a dispute over how to rebuild the Columbia River bridge connecting Vancouver, Wash., and Portland, Ore."

The dispute arises because Washington State has a split legislature, the Democrats control the house, the Republicans the senate. In fact the leader of the Senate Don Benton of Vancouver is against the idea of a new Columbia River Bridge … “a waste of tax dollars!” But what is not a waste of tax dollars for Don Benton is paying people $7000 or more to retouch all his images on the web to make him look better. He has buck teeth in case you are wondering. This is such a crisis for him that it took centre stage during the “special session.” Special sessions should be time to hammer out budgets and start projects that help out the common man or woman. Not here … probably not anyplace anymore.

Jason Smith writes:

“We lack the regulations needed to prevent such mishaps, which includes weight and size restrictions and maintenance requirements.”

That is true. We have allowed corporations to get away with larger and larger loads on the roads. We have allowed them to clip any over-height bridge. We pay for the repairs or replacement, rewarding their bad behavior. I tried to point out to one odious newspaper “reporter” that trucks can easily clip and do concrete bridges, ones not “fracture critical.” The Olympic Boulevard Bridge over WA 16 has been nailed twice in as many years. Thus it is not a steel truss issue at all.

“I have a bad feeling with as much publicity as we're getting, we will be targeted with death threats for even mentioning bridge preservation let alone iterate what bridge types we can use.”

No we will be ignored as is usually the case. We will be seen as “out of touch”, “sentimental”, or “against jobs or business.”

Posted May 27, 2013, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

I still think the teeth and hash marks is a good idea. Truckers may pay attention then. Most of the time its college kids using moving trucks though.

Posted May 26, 2013, by AR

Hm. Maybe gps needs a trucker app. Drivers could enter their truck height and load weight and gps would avoid sending them through low-clearance, low-weight bridges. Maybe too-narrow ones as well.

Update on the HB Weekend in Iowa
Posted May 26, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Hi all, as promised, here is the itinerary for the last two days of the HB Weekend Bridgehunting tour, which you can see in the link below.

As you can see in the plans, we will try to get to Keokuk before creeping up the Des Moines River in time for the meeting at Red Rock Dam at 2:30pm. While we may not get to all of the bridges, some of the bridges we will definitely get to include the Cascade Bridge in Burlington, the Ft. Madison Swing Bridge, the Van Buren County Bridges, the Eveland and Bellefontain Bridges and the bridges in Ottumwa. The itinerary for the bridge tour in Marion County will be provided at the site of the meeting.

For those sticking around for the Kate Shelley Tour on the 12th, a map with info is also included on the far left. If interested we will have a night photo tour of Des Moines at the conclusion of the dinner in Pella. Have a look at this plus the previous itineraries posted.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Don't forget to contact me for the registration forms for the evening and Kate Shelley events. Deadline to submit them back to me is July 15th. This is important for the venues would like to know how many are coming.

Hope to see you all at the HB Weekend! :-)

Posted May 26, 2013, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Looking at the photos it appears that the pony truss has been replaced with a slab and the trusses attached to the sides as decoration. This is certainly better than scrapping the truss and leaving nothing but a slab, however, should this be listed as replaced rather than open?

Posted May 26, 2013, by Stephen Kokoska (xtevencom [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Northbound bridge is called Morris Goodkind Bridge. Southbound bridge is called Donald Goodkind Bridge.

Posted May 26, 2013, by Aaron Hall (ahall [at] vitaphone [dot] net)

The replacement project will begin this coming Tuesday (May 28th), and on Wednesday, Topeka Ave. will be detoured around the interchange.

The attached PDF is the KDOT news release about the start of the project.

Attachment #1 (application/pdf; 171,084 bytes)

Vernita Bridge (Washington)
Posted May 26, 2013, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

My guess is that it was an esthetic decision. It's a nice looking span.

Thousands of Bridges at Risk of Freak Accidents
Posted May 26, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Again, the journalists do not see the point that many experts and pontists have been stressing since the accident in Washington: We lack the regulations needed to prevent such mishaps, which includes weight and size restrictions and maintenance requirements. I believe it is not the fault of the bridge designers, but more the people who ignore the problems that should really be addressed here. I have a bad feeling with as much publicity as we're getting, we will be targeted with death threats for even mentioning bridge preservation let alone iterate what bridge types we can use. I think the person needs a good dose of reality, which is "look at what is on the roads and you'll see why our infrastructure is crumbling!"

"Thousands of Bridges at Risk of Freak Collapse" AP News Article
Posted May 26, 2013, by james mccray (jamesinslocomb)

With the collapse of three bridges this week (Oklahoma--Tornado, I-5--Hit by truck, and Train Bridge--Hit by trains), the Associated Press has put out the following article, "Thousands of Bridges at Risk of Freak Collapse." Please take note of the article:

What do you think?

Posted May 26, 2013, by Janis Ford (jford3 [at] columbus [dot] rr [dot] com)

Looked for this bridge again, 3/25/13. Didn't take the map with me, so was working from memory. Assuming I was in the right place, this bridge has been replaced.

Posted May 26, 2013, by Janis Ford (jford3 [at] columbus [dot] rr [dot] com)

Bridge still there. I took these photos 3/25/13.

Let the Hyperbole Begin
Posted May 26, 2013, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I wish one of these television or blogger folks would call some of us....

expert in infrastructure? from where? this is an important discussion but it is not limited to fracture critical, functionally obsolete words used to inflame and bolster an argument with no regard to meaning.


Posted May 26, 2013, by Don Morrison

Well, the NTSB will decide. Looks like the truck cleared the portal brace but not the next vertical member's brace.

At any rate the NTSB will probably state that a concrete deck bridge is better because of infinite vertical clearance.

The NBI says clearance of 15.3', but that is assumedly in the center lanes only. From one article, the lowest clearance is 14.6' and the permitted height is 15.9'. That sounds like an "interference fit" to me. 8^P

The truss bridge is "functionally obsolete" because of low clearance and superstructure damage caused by oversized loads. Maybe they added to the deck material thickness since the permitted height was decided upon.

Especially with the previous damaged areas, you'd think height would be restricted to less than 14.6' to insure no contact with the overhead bracing.

So it comes down to someone's stupidity for allowing over height loads to weaken the structure(and ultimately destroy it), but the blame will be on too low overhead clearance of a through truss bridge.

Posted May 26, 2013, by J.P. (wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Bridge Still exists and is a Pratt Through Truss, it seemed to have some modifications along with the fact I don't think it was built in 1917, relocation or rehab date most likely.

Posted May 26, 2013, by Wes Kinsler (webmaster [at] wkinsler [dot] com)

Seeing the picture of the collapsed span and where the upper chord is deformed, here's what might have happened. Truck's oversize load hit the last sway brace before the portal strut on the way out of the bridge. Vertical member that brace attaches to was already pulled out of alignment slightly and weakened from previous (a yahoo news article showed photos of other sway brace-to-vertical member connections where the vertical member is deformed on the other standing spans) impacts. WDOT actually new about these damaged areas (according to the article) and had future plans to repair them. Not only does it hit the sway brace, it hits or hooks the sway brace enough to pull it, and the attached vertical with it. The vertical bends, and pulls the upper chord down at that point. Upper chord now deformed & unable to carry compressive load, compressive forces keep bending chord in direction it has been pulled & the span fails as a result.

Vernita Bridge (Washington)
Posted May 25, 2013, by Anonymous

That's really odd. Why do they make it seem like a continuous span when it is really three spans?

Posted May 25, 2013, by Anonymous

Ah, really great capture of both a bridge and rail fanning. I've seen ol Union Pacific 844 steam locomotive up close. The railroad takes it all around the country promoting railroading.

Posted May 25, 2013, by Peter Armstrong (parmstrong [at] masdar [dot] ac [dot] ae)

the correct coordinates are 40.654294,-74.661252

the original steel pony truss appears to be lost

should be designated "North Branch Raritan River Bridge at Kline's Mill?"

Posted May 25, 2013, by Barb (odegard [at] siskiyous [dot] edu)

I cross this bridge often. Has any one noticed how the truss on the face of the northwest corner has been spliced with a wooden beam painted green? Look for the strapping that splints the wooden beam to the original iron truss. :-)

Posted May 25, 2013, by Zachary S

That video is hard to watch, cringe a bit every time. Not very many high wooden trestles - even as approach spans - left in these parts nowadays, and it's quite sad when one succumbs to fire.

Posted May 25, 2013, by Lynne Victorine (bach_canal [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This aqueduct was restored in the early 1970s by Lou Mahnic, the town's blacksmith, and all his welding pals. When the canal boat project needed to have an engineering report on the structure's stability and ability to hold the weight of water and loaded boat, we wondered if 40 years might not have taken its toll. As it happened, the report came back 'good to go,' and the whole family breathed a sigh of relief. Lou's reputation, "when I fix it, it stays fixed" remained intact long after his death in 2003. (Sidebar: he learned his trade beginning in the Charleston Navy Yard, repairing primarily British ships between 1940 and 1943. He then moved back to Illinois with his family and supervised the shipbuilding at Seneca, where he was deemed too important to the war effort to be drafted.)

Posted May 25, 2013, by Mike Brosnan (mikebrosnan85 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Noticed something interesting. Turn the street view camera around 180° and zoom in on the truck at the entrance to the bridge. Looks eerily similar to the load that struck the bridge, and if you notice he is straddling the center line obviously where you need to be with an over tall load.

Posted May 24, 2013, by AR

I think "truck-eating" bridges should have teeth/fangs and glow-in-the-dark glowering eyeballs painted on them. On the far right and far left of the bridge, keep score. "Trucks: 0; Bridge: (however many hash marks the bridge has to its credit)." I had not considered an undead motif and shall take it into consideration.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

I think this trend in bridge collisions should be called: "the Zombie Trucker Apocalypse."


Art S.

Gassman Coulee railroad bridge, Minot, N.D.
Posted May 24, 2013, by Donald Safer (dlsafer [at] netzero [dot] com)

Here is a family photo of the Gassman Coulee railroad bridge, Minot, N.D. circa ~1909.

Posted May 24, 2013, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

This page discusses the history of US 99:

Quote: "In the mid 1950s, a 4 lane US 99 expressway was built in the Mount Vernon-Burlington area. The Skagit River bridge on this expressway was built higher than the 1938 US 99 bridge, eliminating the need for a draw span on the expressway. This expressway was upgraded to freeway and is now I-5."

Meanwhile, Google Maps has already been updated to show a gap in I-5 at the bridge site.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Matt Lohry

'bout what?

Posted May 24, 2013, by James Cassady (yky46-bg [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Highly under-rated bridge, was very unique, kind of art-deco style. Sadly, no-one seemed to mind when it was torn down a few years ago to be replaced. I do like the new modernistic tilted-arch span, but not at the expense of the unique old Main St. bridge.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)


That date comes from the National Bridge Inventory (NBI). There are a few bridges on the Interstate Highway System that pre-date 1956. One example, the Intercity Viaduct carrying I-70 through Kansas City, dates back to 1907.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Dennis Woodling (dwoodling3 [at] att [dot] net)

Does anyone have a picture of the truck carrying the oversize (too tall load)? Or, did WSDOT allow them to continue on to the delivery point? It would also be informative to see a copy of the oversize permit that WSDOT issued to the operator. I'm thinking NTSB investigators would very much like to examine the suspect truck and its load. Just wondering...

Posted May 24, 2013, by Lou Phillips (LouisJohnPhillips [at] gmail [dot] com)

Who says the the bridge was built in 1955? It's highly unlikely to have been built before the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956. It may have been built in the middle 1970s after the levees were raised, but not before I-5 came to Washington.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Brad Smith (gaberdine [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I am confused.....

Posted May 24, 2013, by K. A. Erickson

This does not turn up on the old USGS topo maps going back to the 1940s.

Further research uncovers this:

Posted May 24, 2013, by Mark O'Reilly (Mark Orielly [at] melior [dot] com)

There will be lot's of talk about the crumbling infrastructure of Washington States Interstate highway system. Unlike Oregon, who has invested heavily in replacement of Interstate bridges on I-86 and I-5, as well as REPLACEMENT of damaged concrete roadway panels, Washington State continues with it's policy of grouting and surface grinding concrete panels, patching outdated truss bridge gussets with primer and half measures with expansion joint upgrades, siesmic assesments for bridge pier and approaches, as well as no plans for a strategy to replace or upgrade anything.

What is not being discussed is the nature of the I-5 corridor in Washington State which is mostly a mild upgrade of the old Highway 99 corridor which was mostly built in the Franklin Roosevelt era to enhance logistics to Fort Lewis in Pierce County Washington, an important Army and Army Airforce staging center during WW2. This is especially as bridges are concerned.

People are commenting that the Skagit River structure which failed yesterday was built for the I-5 improvement, the fact is, the bridge happened to be one of the newest bridges on highway 99 at the time the I-5 project was put through the legislature and because it was new, it was wide and strong enough to handle the traffic loads of the day on four wide (for the day)lanes. The failed bridge was one of the last truss structures on I-5 to have both North and South bound lanes on one structure. Washington saved a lot of money at the time, but we're gonna pay for it now as there is no bridge next to it to temporarily detour traffic to while repairs are made on the failed bridge. It will take months to repair the bridge - and don't get any hopes up they'll replace it, there's no funds to do so - they will replace the failed span, and promise a new structure - in a fairyland future which also contains a modern safe I-5 Interstate bridge from Vancouver to Portland

An example of a river crossing on the North fork of the Lewis River in Clark County Washington near Woodland, is an example where the Highway 99 Warren Truss structure built in 194O, although built to handle 4 lanes of traffic, could not meet the requirements of modern commerce. Instead of removing the obsolete structure, the legislature decided that at the time the improvements were needed, the structure was only 28 years old and had plenty of life left in it and chose to build an second Warren truss bridge East of it to dedicate to Northbound traffic in 1968, and the older bridge to Southbound traffic - three lanes each. Summary - Head to Portland from Seattle you cross the North fork of the Lewis river on a 73 year old structure, on your way back, on a 45 year old structure.

The Southbound structure also presents an issue for Class A commercial loads as the portals on the 73 year old bridge have a arch radius which is much closer to the road bead than the newer bridge next to it. Semis heading southbound are are required by law to move from lane 1 (where they belong) to lane 2, to be able to ensure safe entry onto the structure. Next time you are heading Southbound in this area and are approaching this structure take the time to look at the Northwest corner of the portal arch which is heavily damaged from a collision or two.

There are many of these Roosevelt administration era truss bridges like the South bound Lewis River bridge that were old highway 99 bridges which need to be replaced. Nobody wants to pay taxes, but we need to wake up an take the responsiblility to bequeath a safe commercial infrastructure in Washington State to our children.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Brian McCafferty (neabinorb [at] gamil [dot] com)

this bridge is still in use. it's railroad bridge that connects to a factory. we wish it was not in use by the railroad since it blocks access from town to a recreational trail built on the track bed beyond the bridge.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Wes Kinsler (webmaster [at] wkinsler [dot] com)

Er, make that near the north end.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Wes Kinsler (webmaster [at] wkinsler [dot] com)

It is still there-only 2 spans near the middle were destroyed by the tornado.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Brice Bowman-Laberge (bricebowman [at] gmail [dot] com)

just to give an update on this bridge, this bridge is closed and has been for some time. It had been open to pedestrian crossing only for a while and months ago it was closed to all traffic, pedestrian or otherwise.

Thanks for the site though i am really geeking out on this stuff


Posted May 24, 2013, by Kenton Dickerson (kentondi [at] comcast [dot] net)

Video of bridge in operation.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Mike Goff (michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Washington has a few of these simple span "continuous" bridges. They are exactly what Nathan described. They are simple spans that appear continuous, but have a break in the truss at the piers.

The Vernita Bridge is of similar design. (SEE PHOTOS 10 & 11)

Posted May 24, 2013, by Jonathan Marcus (jonmarcus [at] applebey [dot] com)

Bridge is in River Forest (suburb of Chicago). This portion of Lake Street is not part of US 20.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)
Posted May 24, 2013, by Michael J Lynch (mikengineer2 [at] netscape [dot] net)

Bridge under repairs from May 15 through Jun 15 2013. Two terrific floods that had water a few feet over the deck most likely caused undermining. It is a beautiful old bridge in a remote rural setting....... By the way...the water is almost always only 6-12 inches deep under the deck. the deck is about 10 feet over the normal water level.

Posted May 24, 2013, by Wagner Schorr-Ratzlaff (Schorrratzlaff [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This bridge has been demolished and replaced

Posted May 24, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

I think the witch hunt to destroy truss bridges will fail, just like with the cantilever deck truss bridges in response to the I-35W Bridge Disaster in 2007. What the disaster will do is give law makers an incentive to pass a law banning oversized vehicles from travelling the roadways, period. This would force people and companies to reduce their load. After all, less is more, right?

Posted May 24, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Its a pity nobody on BridgeHunter got some more photos prior to collapse, since this is an interesting bridge. Hopefully someone can visit and get photos of what's left. I had to look at some of the collapse photos to get a sense of this very unusual bridge. It has inclined end posts at the far ends of the truss spans, but in between the end posts are vertical. It makes the bridge look continuous, but the bridge appears to be in fact simple spans. In this case, that appears to have been good, since when the span collapsed, it does not appear to have effected the other spans. If it was truly continuous, the collapse of one span would have damaged or destroyed the other spans.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Great. Now for the next 10 years I get to listen to DOTs and the media try to tell everyone that every single historic through truss is exactly like this one and if it isn't demolished and replaced immediately it will collapse, even though the collapse of this bridge was likely the result of a specific, unusual situation that has absolutely nothing to do with any other through truss.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Lyon Wonder (lyon_wonder [at] yahoo [dot] com)

If they find the remaining spans of the bridge structurally stable, they'll likely install a pre-fab replacement span to keep the bridge usable, like the replacing of the Kentucky Lake bridge span that collapsed after getting hit by a barge last year.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

I suppose that if it was an oversize load that hit the overhead or portal bracing that would help explain where the failure occured, very near the portal.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Mike Goff (michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com)

WSDOT spokesman stated they are very confident the collapse is the result of an oversized vehicle hit. There are also reports of "No Fatalities". Hopefully this holds true.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Yarko (yarko [dot] petriw [at] gmail [dot] com)

There are accounts claiming that an oversize truck struck part of the structure immediately prior to the collapse. Yet to be confirmed.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

There is an unofficial report that a truck crash was the cause. 'Crash & splash'?

Posted May 23, 2013, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

The most recent inspection on the NBI is from August 2010. At that time, the bridge's sufficiency rating was 57.4, and the bridge was considered functionally obsolete, but not structurally deficient. The structural evaluation appraisal was given as 5, or "Somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is".

I don't have the most recent inspection -- presumably from August 2012 -- but I'm really surprised this bridge has suddenly collapsed.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

From news photos it appears that the north most truss is down. That being close to shore it appears the river is not very deep at that point allowing some cars to not be fully submerged. I hope that is a good sign and that there are not a large number of unseen, submerged cars. Keep fingers crossed! This happened just about at sunset so there are limited photos. Nearness to shore should help rescue effort. No indication why it failed.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

News reports say that cars are in the water. More info as it develops at Photo of collapsed bridge:

Posted May 23, 2013, by Donde (dondegroovily [at] gmail [dot] com)

The State of Washington is rated in sixth place for the lowest percentage of structurally deficient bridges - Only 5.1% of our bridges are in this category. Worst is PA with 26% of its bridges deficient. Considering that one of the best maintained states in the country had a collapse, I wouldn't drive anywhere in PA right now.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Pw denning (Pwdenn [at] comcast [dot] net)

Thank heavens this did not occur on the start of the holiday weekend! Hope no lives are lost. only one section went down. It seems that we have very major bridge problems in the state of Washington.

Posted May 23, 2013, by V Latz (vlatz [at] msn [dot] com)

We hope for everyone's safety after the collapse of this important bridge!

Posted May 23, 2013, by Mike Olszewski (molszewski99 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Shot these photos on May 8, 2013. River has obviously moved while the bridge was there, as 1/3 of the bridge is now over dry land and looks completely out of place. Locals told me the bridge was closed after a flood many years ago when the new Hwy 81 bridge was built. Much erosion along the banks.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Mike Olszewski (molszewski99 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I visited this bridge while in town on business May 9 and shot these photos; who knew it'd be gone 2 weeks later...

Posted May 23, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has begun the planning process to demolish and replace this signature historic bridge. Currently in early Environmental planning stage. Section 106 will eventually be triggered by this project, but Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has already shown bias in the study whose purpose is to either "improve or replace" the bridge by using the project title "US 51 Bridge Replacement Project." Based on the title, one can only assume KYTC is not taking a serious look at the "improve" portion of the study.

Demolition is a wasteful choice for this bridge. The main issue is traffic volumes, and increased redundancy and traffic lanes would most likely be best served by constructing a parallel bridge to form a one way couplet.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Steve Youell (steveyouell [at] earthlink [dot] net)

My grandfather JM Hickman built this bridge. What a treat to see these photos.

Update on the HB Weekend in Iowa
Posted May 23, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

HB Weekend Update: This is the itinerary of Day 2 of the Bridgehunting Tour. Note that this is only valid for the afternoon, for there will be a guided tour of the bridges of Linn and Johnson Counties scheduled for in the morning beginning at 8:30am. The tour is divided up into two teams: Part I will feature bridges along the Lincoln Highway and Iowa Rivers, whereas Part II will feature a tour of bridges along the Mississippi Rivers between Sabula-Savanna Bridge and the Muscatine Bridge, counting the Quad Cities. A decision of who will lead the bridgehunters will take place prior to the afternoon tours. IF you choose the Lincoln Route, there is a possibility to get at least a good portion of the Mississippi River Bridges on Sunday, as the plan is to photograph the crossings up to Keokuk before going along the Des Moines River to the Horn's Ferry Bridge near Pella.

See link:

Link also available via facebook page under Bridgehunter's Chronicles

Can you help identify this bridge
Posted May 23, 2013, by Wayne Kizziar (wayne1701 [at] cableone [dot] net)

I think this may be it. The old Vicksburg Bridge across the Mississippi River.

Can you help identify this bridge
Posted May 23, 2013, by Paul Holman (paulh1966 [at] btinternet [dot] com)

Image taken in 1962, I know it's in the US, I'm in the UK, can anybody help? Thanks.

Update on HB Weekend in Iowa
Posted May 23, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

HB Weekend update: Registration form for the dinner and entertainment portion of the HB Weekend is now available upon request. It contains the information on the venue, dates and in some cases info on the cost of the events plus the deals that go along with that. For those attending the HB Weekend and would like to participate in the dinner, presentation and entertainment are asked to contact me via e-mail at the earliest possible convenience so that you can fill out the form and send it back to me. This is important for the venues would like to know how many people are attending.

REMEMBER: Registration is due July 15th, so the earlier the better.

Update on HB Weekend in Iowa
Posted May 23, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Just to let you know that the itinerary for the first day of the HB Weekend Bridgehunting tour is now available on facebook through the Bridgehunter's Chronicles as well as via link:

Please note some info I posted in the facebook page so that you know what the plan will be. We're still on with the meeting at the Old Barn in Preston to start off the HB Weekend on Friday at 10:00am

Days 2-4 are in the making and will be posted very soon.

Posted May 23, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

National Weather Service has an interesting Google Earth file showing the track of the tornado with site observations.

Oddly, they do not appear to have surveyed the bridge damage, and I think the track of the tornado could be a little off in that area as a result. However, based on the map, I am guessing the spans that fell could have been subjected to EF2 forces, while the rest of the spans might have been experiencing winds as great as EF1.

I also thought that it looked like the winds really threw the truss spans into the modern bridge... with enough force that the bottom chord dragged along the ground, tearing up the grass. That is visible in some of the aerial photos.

Posted May 22, 2013, by Don Morrison
Posted May 22, 2013, by Zach Elliott

Something else I got to thinking about today, is that it looks like in a few images i've seen that the old bridge was essentially thrown against the new bridge. Makes me wonder if the new bridge wasn't there, if the old one would have literally been picked up and tossed around in the tornado. It was shown to displace huge items and that last thing you need is a bridge span swirling around.....

Posted May 22, 2013, by Zach Elliott

I may take a trip out this weekend Nathan. I'm trying to avoid being a lookie-loo with the damage from this, especially since i'm a meteorologist, but I could get away with taking photos of the bridge and leaving it at that.

Posted May 22, 2013, by AR

I swiped through the pictures at the top of that article. The second to last picture appears to show a truss bridge rising out of the floodwater. Anyone know what bridge that is?

Posted May 22, 2013, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Here is a newscast with a video of the collapse:


Art S.

Posted May 22, 2013, by AR

Nope, not the same. Pity about the train derailing; I'd hoped to get my own three-generation shot on a pretty day. Maybe I'll get there to rubberneck the devastation.

Posted May 22, 2013, by AR

Thank you for pointing out proof. I thought it was an overlooked duplicate listing.

Posted May 22, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Zach, I would encourage you to still go photograph the bridge if you can. 80% of the bridge is still standing. There is a risk that Oklahoma will take advantage of the disaster declaration and use it as an excuse to demolish all 10 spans even though it appears only two spans were blown off.

Posted May 22, 2013, by Jack wooten (jackwooten37 [at] yahoo [dot] com )

i have liveed in this area for over 72 years , the old train trestle was on onl whiteside road , do not remember when new bridge trestle built think old trstle can be seen on old hwy 136 adjacent to freway, lots of history in this area cheokkee town ofrunning waterwas located nearbyy think whiteside was named for war, but not entirely sure, have you noted tearing down og old bridge up stream on i24.

this is a very historicsiote also and the remsauns of old hales bar dam are located app a quarter mile upstream. hope you understand importance of this bridge and area, if the bridge is destroyed area histoty gone forever this is reason i have fought for over year on this issue(Tdot of Tn has absolutely been terrible concerning this bridge, not a necessity only political motivated 9all truss bridges being



High Bridge (Kentucky)
Posted May 22, 2013, by J.P. (wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Has anyone noticed on google earth the 3d imaging of bridges starting to appear. some of them are really good, I have seen a couple that are not exactly correct. But here is an example.

Posted May 22, 2013, by Zach Elliott

I live in Norman and kept telling myself this last year on lazy weekends I needed to go take photos of this bridge, now i'm kicking myself for not doing it....

Posted May 22, 2013, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Inquired about the bridge today. I was told that it is likely not going to be torn out until sometime next year.


Art S.

Posted May 22, 2013, by Craig Philpott (cphilpott [at] puc [dot] edu)

Wood railroad trestle destroyed by fire this week in Texas.

Posted May 22, 2013, by Patrick Stratton (PatS [at] obayashi-usa [dot] com)

Tth construction engineering and construction of this bridge was done by Obayashi Corporation (Burlingame, CA) in joint venture with PSM Construction USA (Brisbane, CA), under a contract with FHWA. Obayashi, formed in Osaka, Japan in 1892, has been building large, complex civil infrastructure projects in the U.S. since 1979.

Posted May 22, 2013, by William Benz (bubish [at] gmail [dot] com)

This bridge has been replaced.

Posted May 22, 2013, by Julie Bowers (Jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Contact IaDOT

Posted May 22, 2013, by Don Morrison

Destroyed by floodwaters 5-19-2013.

The "sinkhole" picture is actually where the bridge is no more.

Posted May 21, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)
Posted May 21, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)
Posted May 21, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Someone had posted "Austin Bridge Co" as the builder for this bridge. I know for a fact the main spans are King Bridge Co. Does anyone know what specific involvement Austin had, if any? The pony truss? Re-erecting the King spans?

Posted May 21, 2013, by Anonymous

please fix this big bridge up and re-open it!!!!

Posted May 21, 2013, by Anonymous

Dont scrap this beautiful steel trus bridge , rebuild it across aother creek / river and re-use it ( we dont want to see these beautiful Iron / Steel bridges destroyed )

Posted May 21, 2013, by J.P. (wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I just seen the pictures on here, looks like only a one span is completely gone while the 2nd is twisted.

Posted May 21, 2013, by Julie (Jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I too wouldn't be so quick as to call it destroyed or lost. Looks repairable to me.

Posted May 21, 2013, by Luke Harden (lukemh9 [at] gmail [dot] com)

One of the spans was relocated to Davis county, it has, according to the IDOT info, long since been replaced.

Precise location of the relocated bridge's location is unknown.

Posted May 21, 2013, by J.P. (wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Just seen a status on google+ saying the bridge is gone.

Posted May 21, 2013, by Don Serbin (serbiesnow [at] aol [dot] com)

As of early May 2013, the bridge is once again closed for the second time in a few years an 18 wheeler truck, one foot higher than the bridge had for clearance has crashed into it causing extensive damage. The last time this happened it took several years to re-open. Apparently, modern day truck drivers follow their GPS units and cant read bridge clearance signs. I dont think our town has the money needed to fix this this time unless insurance might cover the damage.

Posted May 21, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This blog shows this as a pin connected deck truss. Obviously older than 1930.

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