Harvey Island Road Bridge
Photos taken July 2007 by J.R. Manning
BH Photo #109042
After the Des Moines Valley Railroad was completed in northeastern Marion County in 1866, the citizens of Knoxville began agitating for a railroad line that would link the southern and central parts of the county with a national railroad. A line named the Albia, Knoxville and Des Moines (AK&D) Railroad was planned, and in 1870 Liberty, Indiana, Knoxville and Pleasant Grove Townships approved a special tax to help defray the construction costs for the proposed rail line. But the railroad fell short of completion, and after a period of litigation, the subscriptions and subsidies were acquired by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (CB&Q) Railroad in 1875. With far better financing than the AK&D, the CB&Q was able to complete the line to Knoxville, with the first train rolling into town in December 1875. The following year the town of Harvey was platted near where the CB&Q line crossed the Des Moines River. The railroad first employed ferries or a temporary bridge over the river at this point. In 1878, however, it contracted with the American Bridge Company of Chicago to fabricate a wrought iron truss as a permanent bridge for this crossing. The structure consisted of four pinned Pratt through trusses, supported by stone abutments and piers. It is not known whether American Bridge or the railroad itself erected the trusses, but the Harvey Railroad Bridge was completed by the time the line was completed through the county to Des Moines in 1879. It carried railroad traffic until 1938, when the county purchased the bridge and adjoining right-of-way and converted it into a county road. Although the river itself has been re-routed to the north, leaving the bridge with nothing to cross, the Harvey Railroad Bridge continues to function in place in unaltered condition. It is today a well-preserved example of early railroad truss construction in Iowa [adapted from Fraser 1992].
- Four-span wrought-iron through truss bridge over the old channel of the Des Moines River on Harvey Island Road
- Marion County, Iowa
- Open to one-lane traffic on a minimum-maintenance road
- Built 1878 by the American Bridge Works. for the CRI&P Railroad; Converted for vehicular use in 1938
- - American Bridge Works of Chicago, Illinois
- - Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (RI; CRIP; ROCK)
- Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 149.0 ft.
Total length: 600.1 ft.
Deck width: 12.8 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 16.7 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
- Also called
- RI - Old Channel Des Moines River Bridge (Harvey)
RI - Old Channel Des Moines River Bridge (Harvey)
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +41.31711, -92.91028 (decimal degrees)
41°19'02" N, 92°54'37" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 15/507509/4573964 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Land survey
- T. 75 N., R. 18 W., Sec. 10
- Inventory numbers
- NRHP 98000502 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
IA 239640 (Iowa bridge number)
BH 13995 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- Inspection (as of 11/2014)
- Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 34.4 (out of 100)
- Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
- March 8, 2017: New photos from John Marvig
- September 22, 2016: New photos from Lee Smith
- July 31, 2015: New photos from Chris Meiners
- June 2, 2015: New photos from Kevin Skow
- February 20, 2014: New photos from Jack Schmidt
- July 3, 2013: New photos from John Marvig
- July 1, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Corrected builder
- April 3, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Railroad", "Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad"
- April 5, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad", "Rail-to-road", "Pin-connected", "Wrought iron"
- September 8, 2011: New photos from Jason Smith
- September 24, 2007: Posted all new photos from J.R. Manning
- J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
- Historic Bridges of Iowa
- Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
- John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com
- Jack Schmidt - jjturtle [at] earthlink [dot] net
- Kevin Skow - weatherbum [at] hotmail [dot] com
- Lee Smith - ljsmith_32 [at] hotmail [dot] com