Iowa DOT photo
BH Photo #198089
Like many bridges across major rivers, the Bellefountain Bridge was preceded for years by a ferry operation. Located at the small town of Bellefountain along the Des Moines River in western Mahaska County, this multiple span truss was erected here in 1898. That year, after granting licenses for the ferry for decades, the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors finally agreed to build a permanent bridge at this point. In May the county solicited competitive bides for the bridge's fabrication ad erection. Attracted by the sizable profits for such a large scale project, virtually all of the major bridge firms in the region submitted bids in June. Low bidder at $9,750, Clinton Bridge and Iron Works won the contract.
The Clinton, Iowa, firm built the four pinned Pratt trusses on large-diameter steel cylinder piers that year. The Bellefountain Bridge carried mainline traffic without alteration for three decades until its replacement in 1930 with another truss a half-mile upstream. The 1898 bridge continued to serve local traffic, but eventually, without maintenance, it was closed. Today most of the timber floor system has rotted away, and the bridge has been allowed to molder in place by the county. The Bellefountain Bridge is distinguished among the remaining Pratt through trusses by relatively early construction date and multiplicity of relatively long spans [adapted from Fraser 1992].
- Through truss bridge over Des Moines River
- Mahaska County, Iowa, and Marion County, Iowa
- Closed to all traffic
- Future prospects
- Mahaska County is interested in making this a trail bridge.
- Built 1898
- - Clinton Bridge & Iron Works of Clinton, Iowa
- Pinned, Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 145.0 ft.
Total length: 595.0 ft.
Deck width: 16.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 13.1 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +41.28055, -92.86135 (decimal degrees)
41°16'50" N, 92°51'41" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 15/511611/4569910 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Land survey
- T. 75 N., R. 17 W., Sec. 19
- Inventory numbers
- IA 34955 (Iowa bridge number)
NRHP 98000506 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 13982 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- Inspection (as of 01/2007)
- Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 17.5 (out of 100)
- Average daily traffic (as of 2002)
- October 9, 2016: New photos from Lee Smith
- July 31, 2015: New photos from Chris Meiners
- February 20, 2014: New photos from Jack Schmidt
- December 21, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
- April 5, 2012: Updated by Craig Philpott: corrected spelling
- April 5, 2012: New photos from Jason Smith
- April 3, 2012: New photos from Jason Smith
- August 11, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Corrected name and added description
- April 27, 2011: Updated by Tony Dillon: Added common name
- Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
- Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
- Craig Philpott - craigphilpott63 [at] gmail [dot] com
- Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
- Jack Schmidt - jjturtle [at] earthlink [dot] net
- Lee Smith - ljsmith_32 [at] hotmail [dot] com