7 votes

Ely Street Bridge


Ely Street Bridge - Built 1891

Two identical Pratt through trusses extend across Big Creek in the village of Bertram in southern Linn County.

Photo by Iowa DOT


BH Photo #130569

Street View 


From Iowa DOT Web Site

Description: These two identical Pratt through trusses extend across Big Creek in the village of Bertram in southern Linn County. A bridge plate indicates that it was built by J.E. Jayne and Son of Iowa City, Iowa, in 1891. Minutes of a meeting of the Linn County Board of Supervisors in January 1892 reported that the 224-foot Bertram Bridge, with iron tube piers and two 20-foot approaches, had cost an aggregate sum of $2,927. The Pratt through truss style was utilized on many bridges build in Linn County in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since its construction, the Ely Street Bridge has carried sparse traffic and currently maintains a high degree of both structural and historically integrity.


Through truss bridge over Big Creek on Ely Street in Bertram
Bertram, Linn County, Iowa
Washed away by floods
Built 1891 by J.E. Jayne & Son; Washed away 2014; Removed from NRHP 12-8-14, replacement bridge underway.
- Carnegie Steel Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Iron/Steel Manufacturer)
- J.E. Jayne & Son Bridge Co. of Iowa City, Iowa
Pin-connected, 5-panel Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 88.9 ft.
Total length: 208.0 ft.
Deck width: 13.5 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.94914, -91.53050   (decimal degrees)
41°56'57" N, 91°31'50" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/621798/4645173 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2005)
Inventory numbers
IA 640 (Iowa bridge number)
NRHP 98000531 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 13837 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of April 2016)
Sufficiency rating: 15.4 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • April 21, 2020: New photos from Quinn Phelan
  • December 23, 2014: Updated by Dave King: Updated NRHP status: Removed
  • July 1, 2014: New photos from Steve Rasmussen
  • July 1, 2014: Updated by Jason Smith: Bridge washed away by flooding, may be salvageable
  • September 20, 2013: New Street View added by Dave King
  • September 16, 2013: New photos from Jason Smith
  • May 11, 2013: Updated by Dave King: Added link to Carnagie Steel info
  • September 21, 2010: New photos from Jason Smith
  • January 4, 2009: New photos from Quinn Phelan
  • December 18, 2008: Essay added by Quinn Phelan


  • Quinn Phelan - qphelan [at] earthlink [dot] net
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Steve Rasmussen


Ely Street Bridge
Posted July 30, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Sad final chapter to what was a beautiful structure from a lesser known builder. Mother Nature is the one thing that we have little control over...

Except in cases like this:


Ely Street Bridge
Posted July 30, 2016, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)

It's official: Contract has been let to Taylor Consruction for $938,000 to build a new structure in its place. The agreement was signed in June. I suspect construction will begin later this fall. More later.


Ely Street Bridge
Posted January 11, 2016, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

There is no saving it, they are putting in something different. It was pretty torn up as you can see in the pictures. PCI is a big contractor in Iowa. It's very hard to convince them in Iowa when the engineering companies are all about making bolted ugly replacements. Hopefully they will save the other one.

Ely Street Bridge
Posted January 11, 2016, by Elliott Johnson (elliottsgon15 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

updates on bridge replacement on Ely Street and the future of the remains of the old one. I'm hopeful that they can save it somehow. Minutes of town meeting 12/02/215.


Ely Street Bridge
Posted December 10, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)



Question: has the old bridge been scrapped? If not, what would it cost to fix?


Art S.

Ely Street Bridge
Posted July 4, 2014, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Update on the Ely Street Bridge and its unknown future. Suggestions on what to do with the bridge more than welcomed, for the people in Bertram and Cedar Rapids will need them. http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2014/07/04/ely-street-...

Ely Street Bridge
Posted July 1, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Here is an article from about a year ago:


Seems like the town was perfectly content keeping their old bridges and didn't want to pitch in to help the state 'upgrade' them. I wish there was a way to save the bridge and encourage this way of thinking.

Ely Street Bridge
Posted July 1, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Washed away. If someone (not me) moves quickly, maybe the bridge can be recovered and repaired.


Ely Street Bridge
Posted October 26, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This is a beauty from a firm I had not heard of before now. Definitely one of the more unique plaques you will ever see!