The Eureka Bridge
According to the late Gregory Franzwa, a well-known historian of the Lincoln Highway Association, this bridge was built in 1913 to replace a "...flimsy pony truss..." that collapsed from spring flood waters. He also says, "The five-arch spandrel fill concrete structure was one of the first designed by the Iowa State Highway Commission. It was built by the Marsh Engineering Co. of Des Moines." (Gregory Franzwa, The Lincoln Highway: Iowa, 1995, Patrice Press.)
Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2007
BH Photo #109960
The Eureka Mill crossing of the Raccoon River has historically been a pivotal one for Greene County. Located west of Jefferson, it linked the county seat with the town of Scranton and the entire western portion of the county and points beyond. The bridge's location, immediately upstream from a tight bend in the Raccoon River, made it difficult to maintain. The original Eureka Mill bridge was built in the 19th century, but in 1903 had to be extended by the addition of a 100-foot through truss on its east end because of flood damage to its embankment. The bridge required frequent repairs until another spring flood in 1912 destroyed its easternmost span.
Rather than repair the damage, the county board of supervisors instead opted to replace the structure entirely. The state highway commission drew plans for two bridge styles, a four-span pony truss and a five-span, concrete filled-spandrel arch structure, with massive concrete spread footings set on timber piles. The concrete bridge featured an elliptical arch profile and paneled details on the spandrels and parapets that would later become IAHC standards. With a total length of 422 feet, the proposed structure would be by far Greene County's most massive bridge. Low bidder at $13,300, the F.E. Marsh Engineering Company of Des Moines was awarded the construction contract. Marsh's crew began excavating for the foundations soon thereafter, completing the new Eureka Bridge by November.
Construction of the Eureka Bridge predated the establishment of the Lincoln Highway in Iowa, and it undoubtedly figured in the highway's routing through Greene County. Traffic on this nationally important artery had increased sufficiently by 1923 to warrant the widening of the structure's deck. That November ISHC engineers designed modifications for the bridge to increase its roadway width from 16 to 20 feet. The arches themselves remained structurally unaltered, but the bridge's original concrete deck and guardrails were removed entirely and replaced, and new paired concrete brackets were attached to the arch sidewalls to carry the wider cantilevered deck. Since the completion of this modification in 1924, the bridge has functioned essentially unaltered, although it no longer carries mainline traffic since the rerouting of U.S. Highway 30.
Numerous single-span concrete arches can be found in rural Iowa, but multiple-span examples are a relative rarity. Moreover, among those concrete arches remaining in the state, the Eureka Bridge is one of the earliest such arch structures designed by the state highway commission. Despite alterations, the Eureka Bridge appears to possess sufficient significance in its embodiment of the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction to be considered eligible under Criterion C for the NRHP [adapted from Fraser 1990].
- Arch bridge over Raccoon River on a local road
- Greene County, Iowa
- Open to traffic
- Built 1912; rehabilitated 1923; Due for major renovation
- - F.E. Marsh & Co. of Des Moines, Iowa
- Iowa State Highway Commission of Ames, Iowa (Design)
- Concrete filled-spandrel arch
Length of largest span: 77.1 ft.
Total length: 422.3 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
- Also called
- Eureka Mill Bridge
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +42.01201, -94.42956 (decimal degrees)
42°00'43" N, 94°25'46" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 15/381627/4652098 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Jefferson West
- Land survey
- T. 83 N., R. 31 W., Sec. 11
- Average daily traffic (as of 2016)
- Inventory numbers
- IA 162260 (Iowa bridge number)
BH 13540 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- Inspection report (as of August 2018)
- Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 85.4 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com
- November 17, 2015: New photos from Lee Smith
- December 25, 2014: Updated by Luke: Corrected builder
- March 27, 2013: New photos from John Marvig
- January 23, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
- August 12, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Fixed name and added description
- March 15, 2010: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added Street View
- March 30, 2008: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added Bridge to "Lincoln Highway" Category
- March 25, 2008: Updated by J.R. Manning
- March 5, 2008: Updated by J.R. Manning
- January 27, 2008: New photos from J.R. Manning