3 votes

Kirby-Flynn Bridge



Photo taken 1998 by Jason Smith

BH Photo #101874


Newly restored through truss bridge over New Channel West Fork Des Moines River on Brushy Bayou Road
Palo Alto County, Iowa
Completely rehabilitated and now open to traffic
Built in 1883; may have been relocated here in 1919 in conjunction with the West Fork Des Moines River rechanneling project
Pin-connected, 7-panel Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 121.1 ft.
Total length: 161.1 ft.
Deck width: 16.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 12.8 ft.
Also called
Brushy Bayou Road Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.03127, -94.62928   (decimal degrees)
43°01'53" N, 94°37'45" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/367266/4765575 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 95 N., R. 32 W., Sec. 21
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
Inventory numbers
IA 269270 (Iowa bridge number)
BH 14201 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of May 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 17.3 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • July 6, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "A-frame portal"
  • September 28, 2010: New photos from Jason Smith
  • June 8, 2010: Updated by Jason Smith: Bridge is restored and now open to traffic
  • June 8, 2010: New photos from Quinn Phelan
  • March 29, 2010: Updated by Jason Smith: Bridge being restored for reuse
  • November 21, 2005: Posted photos from Jason Smith


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


Kirby-Flynn Bridge
Posted April 27, 2012, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

That might have been the case with the western portal bracing but overall at least half the bridge was repainted; esp. in the areas where some bridge parts needed replacing.

Kirby-Flynn Bridge
Posted April 27, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Jason, Am I missing something? In your September, 2010 photos I can see that half of the end post cover plate was painted red, but everything else doesn't look like it was repainted?

Kirby-Flynn Bridge
Posted April 26, 2012, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Actually Nathan,

According to a couple sources closest to the project and based on my observations, some truss parts (in particular the vertical beams, bolts and pin-connections and even the railings) were either sandblasted or replaced and the entire truss structure was given a really good paint job before it was reopened to traffic in 2010. If you look at the bridge before and after the rehab, you will see the difference. To this day, I'm surprised and amazed that the bridge still exists in Palo Alto Co., for when I was first there in 1998, I had thought that it would have been long gone. For more info, ask fellow pontist Quinn Phelan, who was there a few times and can give you some more details.


Kirby-Flynn Bridge
Posted April 26, 2012, by Nathan Holth

Don't get me wrong, this is an outstanding preservation project and the bridge appears ready to provide many more decades of safe, reliable service. However, should this really be described as "Completely rehabilitated?" It does not appear that any substantial work was done to the truss superstructure. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say "Approaches, Substructure, and Deck reconstructed in 2010?"

Kirby-Flynn Bridge
Posted June 8, 2010, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)


I have yet to visit the bridge but will definitely do so when I'm over in the summer time. I'm really impressed with what Palo Alto has done with this structure. It looks just like new. If one compares the bridge when I was there in 1998 to the one that is now open, it's a day and night difference. Really impressive and thanks for the photos. :-)


Restored Bridge Dedicated
Posted April 24, 2010, by Quinn Phelan (qphelan [at] earthlink [dot] net)

The restored Brushy Bayou (Kirby-Flynn) bridge South of Emmetsburg, IA was dedicated and opened for traffic on April 20. Click twice on the picture and article to enlarge it and read the history of the bridge.

Brushy Bayou Road Bridge
Posted March 29, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Glad they are restoring it.......but why in the world do they have to put those stupid height restriction bars soooo close to the bridge. The only thing worse is when they tack them on the portals. If they would just back them up enough to allow good photos to be taken.

Brushy Bayou Road Bridge
Posted March 29, 2010, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Well I will be darned! When I visited the bridge in 1998, it was in really bad shape- even dangerous to walk across it as there were some boards missing. I thought that bridge would be removed within a few years. However, since it is the last bridge of its kind in Palo Alto Co., the county did the right thing and preserved this structure for years to come. The county had over 2 dozen through truss bridges after the Des Moines River was rechannelled in 1918-20. This bridge has been the last of its kind since the Brown Bridge was replaced in 1996 because of flood damage.

Brushy Bayou Road Bridge
Posted March 28, 2010, by Quinn Phelan (qphelan [at] earthlink [dot] net)

Kirby-Flynn Bridge?

I saw this article in the Local newspaper - the Emmetsburg Reporter. Through some research, I believe this is the same bridge. According to this article, It was built in the late 1800's and moved in 1919. It appears that someone decided to do the right thing, and restore this bridge. Hats off to Palo Alto County, Iowa!