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Alden Bridge

Photos 

Alden Main Street Bridge

This concrete arch bridge has been well taken care of over the years.

Photo taken by Quinn Phelan in December 2008

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BH Photo #130706

Map 

Street View 

Description 

The bridge over the Iowa River in Alden formed a longstanding link for the two sides of the small town, but by the mid-1930s the existing wood structure had "long since seen its best day," according to the Alden Times. In 1935, Hardin County moved to replace it and the bridge at Steamboat Rock. The county sought financial assistance for construction of the two structures from the Works Progress Administration, securing approval from that agency in October 1935. The projects were to be a great boon for Alden's unemployed, who would be used as a day labor to help construct the concrete bridge over the Iowa River. The estimated cost for the 150-foot-long structure at Alden was $20,000, $11,163 of which was to be funded by a WPA grant, with the remainder to be financed by Hardin County. The Iowa State Highway Commission designed the Alden Bridge as a concrete rigid-frame structure, comprised of two spans supported by a concrete substructure. The selection of concrete as the construction material for several Depression-era, WPA-funded bridges was not coincidental; concrete took more employment in building than steel construction. Hardin County advertised for competitive bids and awarded the contract to Weldon Brothers Construction Company of Iowa Falls for a total of $11,922. The WPA workers were to be supervised by Weldon Brothers; but they would be paid by the federal government. Work on the substructure began in January of 1936, and the bridge was completed the same year. The town officially dedicated the bridge on July 4, 1936, with thousands of citizens in attendance. Consisting of a two-span deck girder supported by a concrete substructure, the Alden Bridge is lit at night by four electroliers (two at each approach) and features ornamental steel guardrails and pedestrian sidewalks at either side of the roadway. Since its completion in 1936, the Alden Bridge has carried fairly heavy urban traffic in northwestern Hardin County. The Alden Bridge was among the first projects undertaken by the WPA in Iowa. was one of the first concrete rigid-frame structures designed by ISHC. The concrete rigid-frame configuration, developed in Westchester County, New York, in the early 1930s, became especially popular for federal relief projects during the 1930s. Both picturesque and practical, the flat-arched appealed to proponents of urban beautification. The Iowa State Highway Commission, like many state highway departments, built a tentative number of rigid frames in the 1930s, of which the Alden Bridge is a distinguished, early example [adapted from Crow-Dolby and Fraser 1992, Landler and Pitner 1995].

History 

Courtesy of the Hardin County Community Development Council

An earlier bridge that once crossed the Iowa River in Alden had long united the two sides of this small town. However, by the mid-1930s the existing wood structure had "long since seen its best day," according to the Alden Times. In 1935, the Hardin County government sought to replace both the Alden and Steamboat Rock bridges by securing financial assistance from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In October, the WPA approved the two projects, which were a great boon to Alden's unemployed--used as day labor to help construct the new concrete bridge over the Iowa River. The estimated cost for the 150-foot-long structure at Alden was $20,000. A WPA grant funded $11,163 of the total, and Hardin County financed the reminder.

The Iowa State Highway Commission (ISHC) designed the Alden Bridge as a concrete rigid-frame structure, comprised of two spans supported by a concrete substructure. The selection of concrete as the construction material for several Depression-era, WPA-funded bridges was not coincidental. As described by the October 24, 1935, edition of the Alden Times: "The bridges will be of the concrete type with steel reinforcing, since this type provides more employment in building than all steel construction." The Weldon Brothers Construction Company of Iowa Falls won the construction contract, work began in January of 1936, and the bridge was completed that same year. To celebrate its completion, the town officially dedicated the bridge on July 4, 1936, in conjunction with Independence Day activities, with thousands of citizens in attendance.

The Alden Bridge was one of five concrete rigid-frame structures designed by ISHC. The concrete rigid-frame configuration, developed in Westchester County, New York, in the early 1930s, became especially popular for federal relief projects during the 1930s. Both picturesque and practical, the flat-arched design appealed to proponents of urban beautification. The ISHC, like many state highway departments, built a tentative number of rigid frames in the 1930s, of which Alden Bridge is a distinguished, early example.

The Alden Bridge is located on Main St. over the Iowa River, in Alden.

Facts 

Overview
Concrete rigid frame bridge over Iowa River on Main Street in Alden
Location
Alden, Hardin County, Iowa
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1936
Builders
- Day Laborers
- Welden Brothers Construction Co. of Iowa Falls, Iowa
- Works Progress Administration
Design
Concrete rigid frame
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 75.1 ft.
Total length: 149.9 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.52038, -93.37599   (decimal degrees)
42°31'13" N, 93°22'34" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/469116/4707624 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Popejoy
Inventory numbers
IA 110 (Iowa bridge number)
NRHP 98000517 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 13575 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 03/2015)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 35.2 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2013)
2,210

Update Log 

  • August 30, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Works Progress Administration"
  • August 15, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Added description and builder, fixed name.
  • July 27, 2011: New Street View added by Jason Smith
  • January 3, 2009: New photos from Quinn Phelan
  • December 21, 2008: Essay added by Quinn Phelan

Related Bridges 

Sources 

  • Quinn Phelan - qphelan [at] earthlink [dot] net
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Luke